Ernesto Valverde set to shake up Barcelona side on trip to Celta Vigo
Barca have already played Celta three times this season.
Ernesto Valverde is set to make changes as LaLiga leaders Barcelona head to Celta Vigo on Tuesday.
Barca can move within four points of claiming the title with victory at Balaidos but coach Valverde must also take Saturday’s Copa del Rey final against Sevilla into account.
The Catalan giants, who are 11 points clear at the top of the table with six games remaining, have endured a tough past week.
Barca crashed out of the Champions League after a 3-0 loss at Roma last Tuesday and then claimed a hard-fought 2-1 win with a full-strength side against Valencia on Saturday.
🔊 Valverde: "Tomorrow there will be change as I think the team needs it. We are in an important week and we are coming off the back of a game three days ago and we have the cup final" #CeltaBarça pic.twitter.com/9eqICzzTnb— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 16, 2018
“There will be change as I think the team needs it,” said Valverde at a press conference covered by the club’s website, www.fcbarcelona.com.
“We are in an important week and we are coming off the back of a game three days ago, and we have the cup final.”
The key changes could come up front as Valverde considers whether to rest Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. Gerard Pique could also sit the game out.
Valverde, however, insists he will not take anything for granted against Celta, who are ninth in the table and still in contention for a Europa League spot.
“We have faced Celta three times already and it will be a tough game,” said Valverde, whose side are looking to extend their LaLiga record unbeaten run of 39 games.
“They are having a great season and are fighting for a European place. Celta manage games well and will put a lot of pressure on us.”
Celta held Barca to a 2-2 draw when they played at the Nou Camp in December and the first leg of their Copa del Rey tie in January also ended 1-1. Barca, however, thrashed the Galician side 5-0 in the second leg.
Celta coach Juan Carlos Unzue, who was assistant manager at Barca under Valverde’s predecessor Luis Enrique, wants to avenge that loss and is setting his sights on a shock win.
Barca’s last loss in LaLiga came at Malaga on April 8 last year.
Speaking at a press conference reported by ABC Internacional, Unzue said: “We cannot set out to draw, we need to win. We have to go out and win, to stand up.
“Playing against a big team is always an extra motivation for the rest, even if subconsciously.”
Unzue does not believe the Copa del Rey final will affect Barca’s attitude.
He said: “They are used to playing important matches every three days.”