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Valverde talks Philippe Coutinho substitution and Gerard Pique fitness

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FC Barcelona v Deportivo Alaves - La Liga Santander Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has explained why he chose to bring on Philippe Coutinho for Andres Gomes at half-time of his side’s Copa del Rey semi-final second leg at Valencia.

It proved to be an inspired substitution by Valverde as Coutinho opened the scoring within minutes of his arrival before Ivan Rakitic secured the victory late on.

Speaking after the match, Valverde explained the substitution and also talked about Gerard Pique’s fitness, with the defender starting the game despite concerns over a knee injury.

“I usually take a little longer to make changes,” he said.

“André Gomes was helping us in defence, but I saw we had to go further in the attack, so I replaced him with Coutinho. The game lasts 90 minutes and sometimes we need to make changes.

“Piqué is fine. We thought it was time to risk him with this game, but as the game progressed I noticed an overload and did not want to risk anymore.”

Source | Mundo Deportivo

Pique looked to be in a bit of discomfort at the end of the game and came off allowing Yerry Mina to make his debut.

It remains to be seen if Pique will be fit for the weekend, but with Samuel Umtiti suspended, we should get to see Mina against anyway.