Barcelona (AFP) – Ernesto Valverde is optimistic the knee injury suffered by Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti will not prove serious.
Umtiti missed training on Friday ahead of Barca’s game at home to Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, with the club confirming his left knee as the problem.
Reports in the Spanish press suggested Umtiti could be out for a period of months but Valverde has indicated the Frenchman could return even against Valencia on October 7.
In between, Umtiti was already missing Wednesday’s Champions League game against Tottenham through suspension.
“He has discomfort in his knee and he cannot play on Wednesday anyway,” Valverde said.
“We are going to see for the following game, if we can recover him in time. In principle we think he will be with us again soon.”
Umtiti’s absence against Bilbao and Spurs will likely mean Clement Lenglet, a summer signing from Seville, partnering Gerard Pique in defence. Thomas Vermaelen is another option.
Lenglet, however, was sent off on his first start for the club against Girona last weekend while Pique is enduring a dip in form, after his error helped Leganes snatch a shock 2-1 win on Wednesday.
Asked about Pique’s focus, Valverde said: “I see that he is very focused on football.”
Five points dropped in two games has also allowed Real Madrid and Atletico, who play each other on Saturday, to close the gap at the top of La Liga.
Real Madrid are below Barca only on goal difference, while Atleti are now just two points back.
“Of course we need the points,” Valverde said. “Any team needs the points but for us even more so, because every team Barcelona loses, there is an earthquake.”
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $35/mo. for Sling Blue
- Watch Premier League, World Cup & MLS
- Includes USA, NBC, FOX, FS1 + more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Gibbs-White becomes Nottingham Forest’s 16th summer signing
- BG Pathum end Kitchee’s Asian Champions League dream
- Man Utd closing in on Real Madrid’s Casemiro – reports
- Where to find LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders on US TV
- Where to find Norwich City vs. Millwall on US TV
- Indian women footballers face uncertain future after FIFA ban
- Napoli on the up after hot start, big transfer deals
- Werner says Leipzig can still ‘annoy’ Bayern despite early season stumbles
- Liverpool clash threatens more misery for Man Utd
- Barcelona looking for ‘patience’ despite spending spree