Barcelona face Cartagena in a friendly on Wednesday night as they will seemingly try to keep their players sharp over the international break.
The Catalan giants secured a 4-1 win over Celta Vigo last weekend which in turn moved them back to the top of the La Liga table, level on points with rivals Real Madrid.
While many of their star names have reported for international duty this week, several have stayed behind whether through injury concerns or simply not being called up by their respective national teams.
In turn, the Cartagena outing will provide them with an opportunity to get minutes under the belt and work on their match fitness and sharpness over the break to be ready to feature if called upon against Leganes on November 23.
However, as noted by Mundo Deportivo, and confirmed by the squad list below, centre-half Samuel Umtiti will not be risked as he made his latest comeback from injury in the win over Celta Vigo and so Barcelona seemingly want to avoid pushing him too hard which could aggravate his troublesome knee.
The 25-year-old has been limited to just two appearances so far this season after sustaining foot and knee injuries, which follows on from just 15 outings last year as he continues to be blighted by injury problems.
Nevertheless, having got 90 minutes under his belt last time out, he’ll have the opportunity to rest in midweek it seems to prepare himself for the competitive encounters to come.
That’s arguably a sensible approach from Barcelona as with Ernesto Valverde’s side continuing to look to compete on multiple fronts this season, they’ll be eager to have Umtiti available on a regular basis and to put his injury nightmare behind him.
With that in mind, managing his workload and monitoring his progression will be crucial, and with no real reason for him to feature against Cartagena other than to perhaps work on his fitness, it seems like a smart move to keep him out of the line-up.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 12, 2019