Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde said the upcoming match against Villarreal at the Nou Camp is “fundamental” as his side look to retake top spot in LaLiga.
Barcelona, who are without a league win in two games, are currently second in the table, one point behind leaders Sevilla, despite having scored more goals and lost fewer games than the top-placed team.
Valverde told the club’s website: “We expect Villarreal to put pressure on us. They will battle for possession. They will want to leave Camp Nou with some points. This match is fundamental for us.”
He added: “Last season they created problems for us in circulating the ball, and now they have forwards who could complicate things in transition.”
In terms of injuries, the boss gave little away on the current situation of Arthur Melo, saying: “If he’s on the squad list he’s there to play, otherwise he won’t be there.
“We think we’ll continue getting players back. The injuries we’re having is something that happens throughout a season and which we have to overcome.”
Barcelona’s opponents on Saturday are currently battling relegation, sitting just one place above the bottom three, and with only three more points than the sides in the relegation places.