Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Lionel Messi & Sergio Busquets benching best for Barcelona, claims Ernesto Valverde

Philippe Coutinho reacts during Barcelona's 2-1 defeat to Leganes Philippe Coutinho reacts during Barcelona's 2-1 defeat to Leganes
Betsy Taylor | 01 October, 2018, 08:30

"I believed that Leo and Busquets had to rest because we have a very complicated match on Wednesday", Valverde said.

"I know it was the right decision".

Valverde has now seen his side go three games without a win, but has defended his decision to once again rest senior stars, telling reporters: "When I make the decision, I think about what's best for my team and for my club".

Messi was substituted on after 55 minutes and had a hand in Barca's late equaliser after his shot was turned in by Munir El Haddadi, but the hosts men could not find a victor after recovering from Oscar De Marcos's earlier strike. "Sergi Roberto got injured today, imagine if Messi had".

Leganes had done well to limit their deficit to one goal and they came flying out of the blocks after half-time, chasing down their opponents with aggressive pressing.

Sevilla were relentless throughout the first half and after Franco Vazquez hit the bar, striker Wissam Ben Yedder scored in the 39th minute for his sixth goal in a week to stun Real, who suffered their first loss under manager Julen Lopetegu.


Messi replaced midfielder Arturo Vidal in the 55th and provided the pass for Munir's 84th-minute equalizer.

Athletic was trying to win at Camp Nou for the first time since 2001.

La Liga champions Barcelona's domestic struggles continued as they dropped points for the third game in a row, drawing 1-1 at home to Athletic Bilbao on Saturday after Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets had begun the match on the substitutes' bench.

In the end, Leganes hung on to claim three points and handed Barca their first defeat of the season.

Barca striker Suarez was critical of his side's performance and their continued dependence on Messi.

The important thing is how the team's heavyweights have realised they must improve, both in their play and on the scoreboard.

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