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Ernesto Valverde says he ‘had to’ rest Lionel Messi against Sevilla

The holders were beaten 2-0 in the first leg of their quarter-final

FC Barcelona v SD Eibar - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde said he had no regrets about resting Lionel Messi against Sevilla and says he had to leave the Barcelona captain out.

Goals from Pablo Sarabia and Wissam Ben Yedder have put Pablo Machin’s side firmly in charge of the quarter-final tie ahead of next week’s second leg at the Camp Nou.

Valverde made eight changes to his side for the match and spoke about his team selection after the game.

“I don’t regret it,” he said. “It’s what I had to do.

“Last year, we paid the price for the effort we made to continue in the cup. This year, we’re rotating more because I think it’s for the best.

”When you make changes, you take risks. If you win, you’ve got it right. But if you don’t... We have an important game on Sunday now which we want to win.

”It will be tough because Girona are a good side. After that, we want to keep going in the Copa del Rey and turn things around.”

Source | ESPN

Barcelona turned around a 2-1 first-leg defeat to Levante in the last round to go through 4-2 on aggregate but face a much tougher challenge now to make it to the semi-finals.

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