Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde says his side will be cautious against relegation-threatened Malaga parading Nigerian duo Brown Ideye and Isaac Success in Saturday’s Spanish LaLiga clash.
Barcelona were held to an unexpected 1-1 draw at struggling Las Palmas with Super Eagles midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo in action on March 1.
Malaga derailed Barcelona’s title bid last season by beating the Catalans 2-0 at La Rosaleda.
But so far they have taken only 13 points from 27 games and are eight points adrift of safety after losing all of their last six fixtures. Their last victory came three months ago against Real Sociedad.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s away match, Valverde stated they will approach the game against Malaga with their draw against Las Palma’s at the back of their mind.
“Looking at the statistics you see that teams who are at the bottom of the table and badly need results in the final stage of season usually get them,” Valverde told reuters.com.
“They’re all giving 200 percent. Saturday is an opportunity for Malaga, who are fighting for their lives. What happened in Las Palmas, when we couldn’t win, has to serve as a warning for us. We lost there last year and Malaga have always made things tough at La Rosaleda.”
The former Athletic Bilbao manager gave the latest report on Andres Iniesta who went off injured against Atletico Madrid last weekend.
“He is training separately at the moment, obviously we don’t want to rush things. It’s too early to say if he’ll be available for next week (against Chelsea).
“We have players with a similar profile, Denis (Suarez) got injured the other day, but we have Coutinho who can play inside or out, Andre Gomes as well whose characteristics are comparable, he can play in that position, but we’ll see.”