Barcelona and Valverde head back to Italy looking to avoid a repeat of Roma defeat

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Ernesto Valverde says his Barcelona side have learned from their defeat in Rome last season as they head back to Italy to face Inter.

A point at the Guiseppe Meazza will secure qualification to the knockout stages for Barça having won each of their three group games so far.

Lionel Messi travelled with the squad to Milan despite not having the medical all-clear to play after breaking his arm over two weeks ago.

The Argentine is available for selection according to Valverde but the Barcelona boss will not take any risks with his captain.

Barcelona return to Italy 6 months after suffering a shock 3-0 defeat at the hands of Roma in last season’s Champions League quarter-finals. Barça had taken a 4-1 first-leg lead to the Stadio Olimpico before collapsing and eventually succumbing to Kostas Manolas’ late header.

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Valverde says the loss is still in his and his players’ minds;

“De todas las derrotas se aprende, lo cual no significa que no puedas volver a perder. Sí, tenemos presente lo de Roma igual que tenemos presentes otros partidos en que nos fue mejor.”

You can learn from every defeat, what it doesn’t mean is that you can’t lose again. Yes, there is the Roma defeat but also there are matches in which we were better.”

Lionel Messi returned to training last week after his arm injury had ruled him out of the recent games against Inter and Real Madrid. Barcelona’s talisman was not included in the squad that won so dramatically at Rayo Vallecano on Saturday either.

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When the match-day squad for this trip to Milan was released, Messi was originally included before being removed in an updated post. The Argentine was then reinstalled after the club admitted he hadn’t been given the medical all-clear to play.

Valverde revealed in his pre-match press conference at the Guiseppe Meazza on Monday evening that a decision was yet to be made on whether Messi would feature;

“Esperaremos al entrenamiento. Leo está en ese punto en que puede estar disponible. Veremos qué sensaciones tiene. Lo que seguro que sé es que no correremos ningún riesgo.”

“We will wait until training [to decide]. Leo is at the point where he can be made available. We will see how he feels. What I do know for sure is that we will not be running any risks.”

The Catalan club’s fate is in their own hands – draw and they seal qualification. However, if they win at the Guiseppe Meazza for the first time since 1960, then they will all but secure top spot in Group B. Should Barcelona fall to defeat in Italy again, they will go through if Tottenham fail to beat PSV at Wembley.

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