FC Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has decided to make the trip to Gijon without the presence of Spanish duo Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto.
The Catalans are going into one of the most difficult phases of their season, with matches coming thick and fast as they compete across three fronts. In fact, starting with Wednesday’s catch-up fixture against Sporting Gijon, Barcelona are scheduled to play six matches in the space of three weeks. As such, manager Luis Enrique has seen fit to give some rest to left-back Jordi Alba and midfielder Sergi Roberto.
“[Alba and Roberto] are fit, they have trained with the rest but we have left these five players out of the squad,” Enrique was quoted as saying by Barcelona’s official website.
“We have our idea [about squad rotation] and know the players and how are they responding to the burden of games. But right now we are only concerned about tomorrow’s match,” Enrique added.
Alba has been the regular first team left-back for Barcelona for a few years now, and the Catalans will miss his attacking qualities down the left flank. However, Enrique does have versatile Brazilian defender Adriano to deputise for the Spain international on Wednesday, as also French defender Jeremy Mathieu, who has featured at left-back this season.
Crucial fixtures coming up for FC Barcelona
In the coming weeks, the Catalans have to deal with important La Liga fixtures including Sevilla at home, and a difficult away trip to Rayo Vallecano. Also, there’s the visit to the Emirates Stadium for a Champions League Round of 16 first-leg match against Arsenal next week.
With these fixtures coming up, it is important for Barcelona to manage fitness levels within the first-team squad. As such, it makes sense for Enrique to rest players like Alba, who does a lot of running at left-back, and Sergi Roberto, who has been used in just about every position in the team this season.