Barcelona coach: There will be changes against Huesca
FC Barcelona's head coach Ernesto Valverde attends a press conference held at the Joan Gamper sport complex in Barcelona, Spain, April 12, 2019. EPA-EFE/Alejandro García
FC Barcelona's head coach Ernesto Valverde arrives for his team's training session at the Joan Gamper sport complex in Barcelona, Spain, April 12, 2019. EPA-EFE/ALEJANDRO GARCIA
Barcelona, Apr 12 (efe-e[a).- Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said Friday said that he would make changes to the starting lineup for this weekend's LaLiga game against Huesca, which Lionel Messi will miss out after suffering a blow during the mid-week Champions League clash with Manchester United.
"It's possible that Messi rests in Huesca. I was talking to him on Thursday and the truth is that he's fine, though the blow was hard. He feels like a truck ran over him. Tomorrow there will be changes, because the calendar is tightening up. We are coming off a long trip and intense matches and on Tuesday we will have another intense match," Valverde said.
Barça, who have the LaLiga title all but wrapped up after defeating 2nd-place Atletico Madrid 2-0 last weekend, will host United at Camp Nou in the second leg of a quarterfinal tie that the Catalan club lead 1-0.
With that crucial contest looming, Valverde wants to avoid risks against Huesca.
Valverde said that while the time had come for rotations, he was not taking the LaLiga title for granted.
"A lot of people think we have the championship won, but that's not the case, not even close. We still need 10 points to be champions and we have to gain the first points tomorrow. The changes are to make a competitive team," he said.
Wins are harder to come by at the season enters the final stretch, as teams eager to escape relegation are becoming more aggressive in pursuit of goals and points, Valverde said.
"In recent matches, Huesca is playing very high, taking risks and scoring goals," the coach said.
The 8-2 rout Barcelona inflicted on Huesca at Camp Nou earlier in the season is no guide to what may happen on Saturday, he said.
"Huesca has a lot of enthusiasm, good players in the front line and it scores goals. It is a dangerous match because they have a lot at stake and we have to be focused," Valverde said.
Barcelona will need to focus on Huesca and "not on Tuesday's game against United," the coach said.
With Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez serving one-match suspensions for accumulation of yellow cards, Samuel Umtiti and Ousmane Dembele will get more playing time on Saturday, Valverde said.