Jeison is the Murill deal, insists Barcelona boss Valverde

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Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde believes Jeison Murillo’s LaLiga experience makes him an ideal solution to the club’s “delicate” defensive problems.

League leaders Barca have been left short at the back by Samuel Umtiti’s prolonged injury problems.

Ahead of Saturday’s game with Celta Vigo, Valverde has moved to bring in cover by signing Colombia international Murillo from Valencia.

The deal, an initial loan which can be made permanent at the end of the season, raised some eyebrows as Murillo has made just three club appearances this term.

But Valverde insists Murillo fits his requirements perfectly.

“It is a delicate time with our centre-backs and so far we have managed it well, but we don’t know how it will be going forward,” Valverde said at his pre-match press conference, according to Marca.

“We took into account the situation of the club and we wanted someone on loan who could play immediately and who knew the league well.

“Murillo met those requirements and he can help us in the short term so the club did a good job with his signing.

“Signings at this club need to be familiar with us as we’re continuing our fight for two major competitions soon and we couldn’t have brought along players who need to adapt.

“Murillo is a good player who can help us and be important for us so we will push forward and hope for the best.”

Champions Barca are three points ahead of second-placed Sevilla going into the final round of fixtures before the winter break.

Valverde has challenged his players to finish the year on top.

“We want to maintain our advantage over our opponents at the top and enjoy the holiday as leaders,” he added.

“For us, we want to be happy about that going into the break, although we know it is going to be complicated.”

Celta head to the Nou Camp in 10th position.

Manager Miguel Cardoso told his club’s website: “It will be a very difficult game. You have to be competitive and be at the highest level to fight for the game.

“You have to reach the limit at the individual level and as a team.

“My intention is that this team can face each game with the conviction that it can win.

“We want to do very well and we must fight very hard in the match.”

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