Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde confident his side can cope without the injured Ousmane Dembele

Ousmane Dembele has been ruled out until 2018 with hamstring injury. Photo: PA

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde is confident he is not short of options to replace injured record-signing Ousmane Dembele as the Catalan giants look to continue their 100 per cent start to the season against Eibar on Tuesday.

Dembele, a £96.8million buy from Borussia Dortmund this summer, limped out of Saturday's 2-1 win over Getafe in the first half after suffering a hamstring injury.

Dembele limped off in Barcelona's 2-1 La Liga win over Getafe. Credit: PA

The 20-year-old France international will undergo surgery in Helsinki on Tuesday and is set to be sidelined for up to four months.

That is a significant blow for Barca, who signed Dembele to help cover the loss of star forward Neymar to Paris St Germain, but Valverde says there are several players who can fill the void.

He told a press conference on Monday: "We have various players, (Gerard) Deulofeu, Aleix Vidal, Denis (Suarez), Andre (Gomes)...we will look for alternatives to play in the first XI. We will also take Barca B into account."

Deulofeu could be one of the players to fill the void left by Dembele. Credit: PA

Valverde also shrugged off speculation in Spain that Dembele might have been struggling with the problem during the pre-match warm-up at Getafe, or as a result of the Coliseum Alfonso Perez pitch.

However, the Barca boss did suggest a more experienced player might have avoided the injury, with Dembele's final involvement in the match being a back-heel to a team-mate near the corner flag.

He's a player who has never had a muscular problem, he has no experience of recognising when you have a small niggle.

– Barcelona boss, Ernesto Valverde

Valverde said: "To do a back-heel is the worst, the most aggressive, thing you can do to the hamstring. It's not normal but it can happen. A more experienced player maybe would have let the ball go out."

Barca's comeback win at Getafe left them top of La Liga with 12 points from four games, two points clear of second-placed Sevilla and four above defending champions Real Madrid.

Valverde hopes they can continue their winning streak against 13th-placed Eibar, but had a warning for his players.

He added: "It's a different game to what we've had up until now. They will try to press us up high up. They're a team who steal possession a lot on opposing grounds and who read the second ball very well."