Ernesto Valverde has rested several key players as Barcelona prepare to host Real Murcia at Camp Nou in the second leg of their Copa Del Rey Round of 32 tie.
Barcelona will be aiming to seal their progression into the Round of 16 of the Copa Del Rey when they play hosts to Real Murcia on Wednesday. Ahead of the Round of 32 second leg, Ernesto Valverde has taken the game to rest a number of key first-team players, with one foot already into the next round.
The likes of Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta, Luis Suárez, Leo Messi, Jordi Alba and Samuel Umtiti have all been rested, with the Barcelona manager calling up five youngsters from the B team – Adrian Ortola, Carles Alena, Oriol Busquets, Jose Arnaiz and David Costas.
Valverde spoke at length about the squad he has picked for the cup tie in his pre-match press conference, iterating that he has will use the game to provide some of the fringe players within his first-team setup to get some minutes under their belt, with Jasper Cillessen among the players who are set to start.
📋 #CopaBarça squad: Cillessen, Semedo, Piqué, Denis Suárez, Paulinho, Deulofeu, Alcácer, Digne, Sergi Roberto, Vidal, Vermaelen, plus Adrian Ortolá (31), Carles Aleñá (26), Oriol Busquets (30), Jose Arnaiz (37) and David Costas (39) of #BarçaB 🔴🔵 https://t.co/0TpeZBv6lk
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 28, 2017
“The team in Murcia included several reserve team players, and they lived up the occasion. And my idea on Wednesday is for some of those that travelled to get another chance, and to give a run-out to the players that aren’t getting as many games.”
Apart from the second-string players getting a boost from their manager’s words, Valverde had another positive piece of news to report, with Sergi Roberto returning to his squad after recovering from a hamstring injury.
But the Barcelona boss also added that the player is still not in the best physical shape, while also providing some update on Andre Gomes (thigh) and Ousmane Dembele (hamstring). Javier Mascherano (hamstring), Rafinha (knee) and Arda Turan (ankle) are the other absentees.
“We have to be careful about injuries with so many games, but the players are getting into the right physical shape. Andre Gomes and Sergi Roberto will be back very soon, while we don’t want to risk anything with Dembele. We need to be cautious because it was a serious injury. The player himself is very eager play again, and that’s important.”
As far as the visitors are concerned, Victor Basadre has no injury concerns to deal with ahead of the trip to Camp Nou, and the Real Murcia boss will take a full-strength squad to face Barcelona.