Valverde praises young players

Ernesto Valverde thinks Riqui Puig is one of those blokes who want to be in the thick of things. When he is on the pitch, he is always looking for the possession of the ball and not looking to remain away from the action. He wants to be at the hotspot and that’s a great quality for somebody who is as young as him.

Puig is only in his teens at this stage and he got to feature for the first team of Barcelona yesterday and that too at home. He was used as a substitute in the second half of the game against Cultural Leonesa. The hosts were 3-1 up already when Puig entered the pitch and the youngster put cherry on top of the cake by assisting another goal for the team a few minutes after his entry. The victory saw Barcelona advancing through to the pre quarter finals of Copa del Rey.

Valverde singled out Puig for praise in his post match presser, but he stressed that it was not only Puig, but a few other players of the second team as well who grabbed their chances and showcased their skills. All the youngsters were very impressive. It was a big stage for them and they showed they had got the temperament to succeed.

According to Valverde, some of the first team regulars have been playing week in week out in Liga. So the idea was to allow them a breather and use this Copa del Rey as an occasion to assess the skills of the youngsters in the reserves.

“This was a great chance to take a look at some of the younger players and the ones that don’t get to play as much.” Valverde was quoted saying by SBNATION.

“We want to avoid overloading people like Semedo, Busquets and Rakitic with too many games.” Valverde added.