Valverde: Barca will cope with Madrid tie

first_imgErnesto Valverde says Barcelona will cope with a busy February fixture list after Friday’s Copa del Rey semi-final draw handed the holders a two-legged tie against Real Madrid.Barca have won the tournament four years in a row but will have to knock out their rivals to reach the final again after Real Betis and Valencia were paired together in the other semi-final.Valverde’s men also play the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie against Lyon this month, while they start March with a trip to the Santiago Bernabeu in La Liga immediately following the second leg of the Copa clash at the same venue. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Saturday’s visit of Valencia to Camp Nou is the first of seven matches Barca will play in February, yet Valverde is not concerned about the impending fixture pile-up as they continue to compete on multiple fronts.”A huge game, two big games,” Valverde told reporters on Friday when asked for his reaction to the draw. “It’s a time we are both involved in a battle for the top spot in the league, the Champions League starts again in a few weeks, so that adds to the mix with two huge cup games thrown in there too.”It’s quite a heavy, intense load of games but it’s very attractive for the fans and for ourselves. It should be a great semi-final, let’s see if we can qualify for the final.”I think it’s tight and I don’t know, it’s ridiculous to talk about percentages. It’ll be a tight semi-final and they did have a bit of a lull in the league but they seem over it, playing confident football and getting better results too.”Valencia tomorrow are at the peak of their form and Madrid are the same. I don’t want to say everything as next Tuesday there will be point giving a press conference as I will have said everything today.”Of course we are confident we can deal with it [the fixture list], we offer a full guarantee but don’t know what setbacks may happen tomorrow or even in training.”The weeks are building up and we have three games in six days, then three days in eight days, then after Athletic Bilbao [on February 10] a free week that will be a big help. So we’ll try to organise the rest time as well as our playing time and hope we do not suffer any injuries.”I’m honest and I will tell you just after the Sevilla game, Madrid we knew would be a possibility, a one in three chance to get them or Betis or Valencia. We knew it would be a heavy fixture list. Madrid games have a special connotation but nothing was ever going to be easy.”Valverde: “I see Valencia very similar to last year, they had great success at the beginning and earned many points” #BarçaValencia pic.twitter.com/qz3KmPu65M — FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 1, 2019 Atletico were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Girona before the quarter-final stage, clearing their fixture list compared to Barca, but Valverde says he would not trade places with Diego Simeone.”Ask them – they’ll answer that,” he said. “I’m quite happy where I am right now, thank you.”We’ll put out the best team we can to win [against Valencia]. We’ll look at how the players are in training later today.”Let’s not deny the league is always our priority, our priority is to win every game but we cannot afford any slip-ups so we need to play our strongest team in all the games.”Valverde confirmed the Valencia game comes too soon for Ousmane Dembele and he is unsure if the winger will be available for Wednesday’s first leg against Madrid.last_img read more

Lighthouse theatre airs its Sexy Laundry

PORT DOVER — Lighthouse Festival Theatre has some Sexy Laundry it wants you to see.Sexy Laundry, which opens the theatre’s 2019 summer season, is more than just a comedy about a couple hoping to spice up their marriage.“A lot of people instantly think it’s a laugh-a-second comedy, but in actual fact there’s some real things happening here; there’s some real emotion,” said LFT artistic director Derek Ritschel“What people will leave with is an honest portrayal of a marriage that maybe needed a spark.”The production stars Melodee Finlay as Alice and Ralph Small as Henry.Finlay is a Lighthouse regular, having appeared in Stage Fright, Henry and Alice: Into the Wild, Guys and Dolls, among other shows. She also starred as Alice in Lighthouse’s 2009 production of Sexy Laundry, which is the best-selling show in the theatre’s 40-year history.“I remember it being a great experience and I remember having fun,” Finlay said of her first go-around as Alice.She said she does not remember all the details of the production 10 years ago.“It can be dangerous when you’re recreating a role and you’re working with a different director and different actors.”Smalls is well known at Lighthouse as a director and actor. He directed last year’s world premiere production of Fair and Square. He is also the artistic director of the Bluewater Summer Playhouse in Kincardine, Ont.Ritschel, who directs the play, said he thinks of himself as the third actor in Sexy Laundry.“There’s two up on stage, but there’s one out here looking out for those two, seeing what they can’t see.”Ritschel said Sexy Laundry looks at a relationship from the perspective of both sides.With only two actors on stage, they need to be comfortable with each other. Finlay and Small have known each other for 30 years.“You’re just on for the whole ride,” said Finlay. “You start, you go through the arcs and the falls, you get the whole experience. I love it, and I love working with Ralph.”Previews of the comedy, written by Michele Riml, will be staged May 22 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and May 23 at 2 p.m., ahead of opening night May 23 at 8 o’clock. Shows continue until June 8.Sexy Laundry has become an international hit with ongoing productions in Canada, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Lithuania, Slovenia, New Zealand, Iceland, Mexico, the UK and the USA. Sexy Laundry has been translated into seven languages.astaylor@postmedia.com read more