Barcelona face a difficult trip to Athletic Bilbao in their Copa del Rey quarter-final clash on Thursday night and Quique Setien has named a strong squad.
Despite their 2-1 win over Levante at the weekend, it’s been a difficult few days for the Catalan giants after they confirmed another injury blow with Ousmane Dembele suffering a hamstring tear in training.
Further, as noted by the Guardian, there was a public spat between sporting director Eric Abidal and talisman Lionel Messi, and so that could be an unwanted distraction for Setien and his players heading into this game.
In turn, the Barca boss will be desperate to ensure that all are focused on the task in hand as they look to keep their hopes of silverware alive in midweek, and as seen in the 20-man squad selected below, he has picked as strong a group as possible it seems.
Mundo Deportivo note that he has been handed a double boost as both Gerard Pique and Arturo Vidal make the cut, despite the former not training with his teammates on Wednesday morning.
It’s unclear what the issue was for the defensive stalwart, but the fact that he has been included in the squad would suggest that it isn’t serious enough to sideline him which will welcome news for Setien.
Meanwhile, the report adds that Vidal returns after missing the win over Levante due to a knock he took to his leg, and having trained normally on Wednesday, the Chilean international is back in the mix and at the Barcelona coach’s disposal.
A trip to Bilbao is never an easy task, and so time will tell whether or not Barcelona can provide all concerned with a timely lift after a problematic few days on and off the pitch.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 5, 2020