Valverde: Having an extra day of rest is a small advantage ahead of El Clasico

Valverde: Having an extra day of rest is a small advantage ahead of El Clasico

One of the most anticipated Clasicos in recent memory will finally be played on Wednesday night, after being rescheduled from its original October date, and Ernesto Valverde hopes that the game passes without any off-the-pitch drama.

The Barcelona coach called for football to be a unifying force, just a few days after a second division match between Rayo Vallecano and Albacete was abandoned, while insisting that he believes in freedom of expression.

"People can express themselves in the stadium, as long as there is respect for all," he said at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday when asked about the issues that surround this Clasico and the match at Vallecas.

"Football should be something that unites us all, not something that separates us.

"I thought the best thing to do was to play the game on the original date.

"Now it will be played tomorrow, no matter how people express themselves.

"It would have been an even match had it taken place two months ago and it'll be an even match tomorrow."

For Valverde, this is clearly one of the biggest fixtures of the year.

"Every Clasico is difficult," he said.

"This will be the first Clasico for some of our players.

"This match has special connotations.

"It is played at a different level and you notice the importance even from the tunnel.

"This is the first half of the season and there are many matches to go, but both teams would like to be ahead after this match.

"The fact both teams are level on points means that this league season is very finely balanced.

"Real Madrid often approach the matches here with intensity, while we've achieved good results in the Clasicos away from home."

One of the main talking points in the build-up has been the fact that Barcelona will have had an extra day of rest.

"Having a day extra can have an influence, yes," he said when asked about this.

"It's a small advantage.

"The way the match was originally scheduled, it was us who were supposed to have a day less.

"Both teams know how to prepare in these situations and motivation is at its highest.

"Last year we played on a Wednesday and then a Saturday and the response was very good."

There is no Eden Hazard for Real Madrid, but Karim Benzema is in good form and Valverde was asked about both players.

"We have to find our way of playing, no matter who plays for them," he replied.

"They have many variables and their coach will decide what to do.

"I don't know what he'll do, whether Gareth Bale or Isco will play, if Vinicius or Rodrygo will do so.

"With Benzema, he is a player who is having a great season and he is scoring a lot.

"No matter what happens, we have to find our way.

VAR has also been in the headlines and the Blaugrana coach discussed this too.

"It was obvious that the controversies of football weren't going to completely go away with the arrival of VAR, because football has controversy in it," he said.

"Everyone sees things from a different point of view.

"We thought that we could have had a penalty the other day had they revised it, but I've nothing more to say on this matter." Follow us on Twitter and on Facebook
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