Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde is being tipped to rest a number of key players for their La Liga clash with Real Valladolid this weekend.
The Catalan giants face a crucial fortnight in their season, as not only do they face Lyon in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie on Tuesday, but they have the conclusion of their Copa del Rey semi-final clash with Real Madrid and an El Clasico in La Liga too.
That could ultimately determine how successful they are this season with three trophies up for grabs, and sensibly, Valverde is expected to make changes this weekend in preparation for that run of decisive games.
According to AS, it’s suggested that the Spanish tactician could rest up to six players this weekend, with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic, Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet all expected to get a rest at some stage for the meeting on Saturday night.
It’s undoubtedly a clever plan if accurate as Valverde will need that group of players to be at their best and fully fit for the upcoming games and so it would make sense to rest them now.
Further, the Barcelona boss will surely feel confident in the depth options available to him to step in and fill those voids and ensure that they don’t drop points this weekend.
Real Madrid have moved to within six points of their rivals at the top of the La Liga table, and so any more dropped points would certainly pile the pressure on Barca ahead of that league showdown on March 2 at the Bernabeu.
Having been heavily criticised last season for not rotating enough and not resting players ahead of their Champions League exit to Roma, it seems as though Valverde may well have learned a lesson from that experience.