Luis Enrique will be without the key midfield duo of Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta as Barcelona host Real Sociedad in the second leg of the Copa del Rey tie.
FC Barcelona go into the home leg of the Quarter-Finals of Copa del Rey with a narrow 1-0 lead they achieved at the Anoeta in the first-leg against Real Sociedad. Luis Enrique, though, faces a selection dilemma of sorts, with the likes of Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets sidelined for the fixture and perhaps, few of the next ones as well.
Rafinha is also an absentee but the Barcelona boss channeled his inner confidence by stating that he is not worried by the absentees, putting faith in the depth and quality of options available at his disposal. Enrique said to the media, in the pre-match conference,“ I have plenty of options.”
Apart from the aforementioned trio, who are set to miss the Copa del Rey tie, Gerard Pique, who sat out the Eibar tie over the weekend could return to the starting lineup on Thursday. Also, Iniesta’s absence could mean another start for Ivan Rakitic, who impressed at the Ipurua Municipal Stadium.
Enrique, though, will not risk resting any of the famed MSN trio, with a semi-final berth on the line on Thursday. And, the boss chose to reflect on the iconic Lionel Messi and his development to adapt to maintain his influential and charismatic displays.
Enrique said,“ His development is obvious and it has gone hand in hand with his increasing maturity. He is a player who doesn’t need to use his physical strength and that makes him unique.”
Real Sociedad, though, have their own share of injury issues to tackle before the fixture. Asier Illarramendi is suspended for the game while defensive stars, Carlos Martinez and Mikel Gonzalez are long-term absentees for Eusebio.
The onus will be on the trio of Willian Jose, Carlos Vela and Juanmi as Eusebio Sacristan eyes a place in the semi-finals of the Copa Del Rey.
Luis Enrique praised Sacristan’s men while also reflecting that, playing at Nou Camp in front of a packed home crowd, with a lead from the first-leg, does put his side into an advantageous position.
He said,“ Real [Sociedad] play the same way at home and away; they put pressure high up the field and that is something we will have to take into account if we are to go through. We are not playing in Anoeta but in Camp Nou and there are various positives in our favour.”