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Riqui Puig left out against Alavés as youngster continues to struggle for playing time at Barcelona

Ronald Koeman says it was purely a “technical decision.”

Celta de Vigo v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Riqui Puig will not feature for FC Barcelona as the Catalans take on Deportivo Alavés on Saturday, as the youngster continues to struggle for minutes in Ronald Koeman’s set up.

“It’s a technical decision, normally we have 23 players, but for me it is too many, the best is 20 or 21 players,” the manager said.

Koeman has cut Puig’s minutes strongly compared to his predecessor, Quique Setién, even though Puig is a more experienced player now. Setién was sacked after a disastrous end to last season.

The Dutchman has changed the formation from a 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1, and perhaps in part due to that, has not looked upon Puig quite as favorably.

The 21-year-old has only made one appearance in La Liga, and that only for three minutes.

Koeman has said he prefers Puig stays back and trains hard in order to be fit for a new match later on.

In the previous transfer window, Puig was linked with an exit from his hometown club via a loan or sale, but ultimately decided to stay and fight for minutes.

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