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Ernesto Valverde explains why he benched Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets against Athletic

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The duo started the game on the bench

FC Barcelona v Athletic Club - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde explained why he decided to bench both Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets for Saturday’s home clash with Athletic Bilbao.

The pair came on in the second half as Barcelona chased an equaliser after going behind to Óscar De Marcos’ goal just before half-time.

Yet it was another substitute, Munir, who saved Barcelona from a second defeat in a row, as he popped up with an equaliser with six minutes of normal time remaining.

Speaking after the game Valverde explained his team selection.

“When I make the decision, I think about what’s best for my team and for my club,” he said.

”I always do that before playing games, I can’t do it afterwards or rewind.

”Fans can decide what they think is convenient, but I need to think about the best for my team.

”It’s my absolute responsibility, we have four games in ten days and I thought that Leo and Busquets had to rest knowing that we have a very difficult match on Wednesday.

“I knew it was a risky decision, but if it had gone well, you wouldn’t be asking me about it.”

Source | Marca

Valverde has been keen to rotate this season, but it’s not been working for the Barcelona boss, and the team have now gone three games without a win.