Ronald Koeman has opted to rest some key players against Real Betis on Sunday with Lionel Messi, Frenkie de Jong, and Pedri all starting on the bench.
It’s not a huge surprise given the team’s busy schedule and with key games coming up against Sevilla in the Copa del Rey and PSG in the Champions League.
Koeman’s assistant, Alfred Schreuder, offered some insight into the Barcelona starting XI against Real Betis ahead of kick-off.
“The team has had a lot of wear and tear in the last matches and we must not forget that on Wednesday they will be playing again. They have been intense weeks, but I hope the two teams dominate the ball, it is the philosophy of Betis.
“In January there have been eleven games, and ten away. We need everyone fresh. Riqui has been playing very well in recent weeks. Of course, we have to control that area of the field, too.”
Source | Mundo Deportivo.
The changes mean that Riqui Puig is finally granted his first La Liga start of the season for Barcelona, while Miralem Pjanic and Martin Braithwaite also come into the team at the Benito Villamarín Stadium.