Ernesto Valverde has moved to cool down talks of Ousmane Dembele returning to the starting lineup, after he came off the bench in the Copa del Rey draw against Celta.
The club’s record signing played the final 20 minutes of the fixture, and is expected to play in the second leg, as he builds up his fitness.
Valverde who played Dembele in a central striking role, resting Messi and Suarez, says they will have to hold off on starting the winger.
“It was so that Dembele played in a position where he was released of defensive obligations, which were a bit stressful at that time of the match,” Valverde said of Dembele’s positional switch.
“When we know that this was the first game of this player after almost four months without playing, I preferred that he be in a position where he can gradually get used to the game.
“We must take into account that the pace of a whole match against a first division team. For Ousmane, it would have been excessive.”