Valverde unsure about risking Pique again

Ernesto Valverde is unsure about gambling on Gerard Pique's "fitness issues" for the visit of Getafe after acknowledging he risked the centre-back against Valencia.

Pique suffered a knock to his knee in the 1-1 draw with local rivals Espanyol last weekend in LaLiga, a game in which he scored a late equaliser.

He declared himself fit for Barca's Copa del Rey semi-final, second leg with Valencia on Thursday, as Valverde's men booked their passage to the final thanks to a 3-0 aggregate triumph.

But Valverde concedes he took a risk playing the 31-year-old in the Copa clash and admits he has a dilemma ahead of hosting Getafe on Sunday.

Speaking to reporters at his pre-match news conference, Valverde said: "[Thomas] Vermaelen is coming to the end of his recovery this week, he should be able to join training - we'll see how that develops.

"As for Pique, I am not telling you if he will start the game or not. Yes, he does have some fitness issues from the Espanyol game.

"We took a risk on Thursday, but tomorrow [Sunday] is also an important game, so we need to assess the situation. We'll see.

"I like my players to train the day before a game, and if he hasn't trained today there's a reason for that.

"The intention is for players to recover in the timeframe. After the game we've got a long week with time for recovery from hard work in January. Touch wood, hopefully there'll be no setbacks."

Colombian defender Yerry Mina could well make his first start for the club following his January switch from Brazil's Palmeiras.

The centre-back came on against Valencia on Thursday, though Valverde did not give much away with respect to his selection choices.

"He [Mina] is ready to play, so are all the other players in the squad," Valverde added.

"Thursday was the first step. He's made his official debut, but things don't stop, we've got important competitions to play. He's going to have to get used to things."

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