Barcelona Coach Ernesto Valverde decided to rest Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets against Athletic Bilbao ‘in the best interests of the team’.
The two long-serving Barca stars appeared in second half substitutes in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against the Basque club at Camp Nou – meaning Valverde’s side have dropped seven points in a week.
“Decisions like this are taken in the best interest of the team and of the club,” Valverde told his post-match Press conference, as cited by Marca.
“There are a number of factors behind team selection and the truth is you cannot play the same eleven players in every single game.
“I make these decisions before the game and cannot go back upon them, these decisions are my responsibility and I have to delegate in this manner.
“We have four matches in ten days, that is a lot, and I believed Leo and Sergio (Busquets) both needed a rest going into an extremely complicated game on Wednesday.
“Of course the decision carries risk because they are both excellent players who would be missed by any team in the world, but had we won, it would not have been questioned.
“It ends a difficult week where we have not met the objectives we set ourselves and now we know we must improve.”