Five substitutions will be allowed rather than the usual three, a move the Barcelona coach said might hurt the Catalans.
“I believe that the measure will harm Barça twice,” Valdano said, backing up the manager.
First, he says Barcelona’s “very elaborate playing style” requires “wearing opponents down.”
In normal circumstances, Barcelona’s game “needs to tire out the rival to capitalize on technical superiority in the final minutes when the opponent is tired.”
However, with additional fresh legs off the bench, this may not be as possible.
Secondly, Valdano says the other problem for the Catalans is that they have “a very very shallow bench, they only have 17 fit players.”
The number is a bit outdated, although not far off. With long-term injuries to Luis Suárez and Ousmane Dembélé, Barcelona did have just 17 first-team players, even counting Ansu Fati.
Since then, the team signed Martin Braithwaite and Suárez has recovered, meaning the team has 19 players for La Liga. There is a chance that Dembélé could recover in time for the end of the season, although he is only eligible for the UEFA Champions League. Braithwaite, meanwhile, is not able to play in the Champions League. That means, at best, the team will have 19 for each competition.
Setién will be able to use academy players such as Riqui Puig, Álex Collado, and Ronald Araújo to make up the numbers. The trio have had some time this season already.