Ronald Koeman says Lionel Messi is feeling well rested ahead of Barcelona’s home date with Osasuna, but Sergino Dest is a doubt after picking up a slight knock.
They eased through that contest without the need for any Messi magic, with a 4-0 win taking them throughto the last 16.
The six-time Ballon d’Orwinner will, however, come back into Koeman’s thoughts for Sunday’s La Liga contest on home soil, with Barca in need of a domestic spark.
“I think he’s had a good rest, like Frenkie De Jong,” Koeman told reporters when quizzed on his skipper
“They’d played everything with Barcelona and their national team.
“They couldn’t go on like that and that’s why we left them at home. I hope they’re fresh and have energy againstOsasuna.”
While Messi will have a prominent role to play on Sunday, it remains to be seen whether Dest will be able to complete another 90 minutes.
The highly-rated United States international has made a positive impact at right-back for Barca on the back of his summer switch from Ajax, but the 20-year-old is nursing a muscle complaint.
He has been included in Koeman’s 21-man squad, but no unnecessary risks will be taken on him.
“It isn’t serious because Dest trained on Saturday but he came back really tired back after the match against Kiev and he had some muscle problems,” Koeman added.
“We will not take any big risks with him because in his position we have a lot of players injured. If he’s OK, he will start; if we have doubts, he will not start.”
As Koeman prepares for more competitive action, he has reached 100 days in charge of Barcelona.
He is reluctant to rank his efforts so far, with plenty ofhard work to come.
The Dutchman said: “I’m not giving myself any grades.
“I’ve come to be the coach of this great club. It’s a delicate time. We have to work hard and change things when we have to.
“I’ve had a more relaxed 100 days as the coach of other clubs, that’s for sure, but I’m happy.
“Covid has limited us as well. We have seven games before the end of the year and the time to react in the league is now.
“We have to reduce the gap between the teams at the top. If we’re in a game where there is intensity and rhythm, we’re very good. Sometimes our level drops and we get distracted without the ball. We need to play with more intensity.
“It’s not easy to know what is behind the differences between theChampions League and La Liga. It could be that in La Liga our opponents play more defensively and, in Europe, they’re more open.
“But at the end of the season, we’ll be able to say what’s happened. The team really hasn’t deserved to drop as many points. We have more confidence in theChampions League.”
Source : goal.com