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Celta Vigo vs Barcelona: Valverde reveals why he benched Messi

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Celta Vigo vs Barcelona: Valverde reveals why he benched Messi

Barcelona manager, Ernesto Valverde, has insisted it was the right time to take risks, after they survived a late scare to draw 2-2 with Celta Vigo on Tuesday and keep their unbeaten streak intact.

Goals from Ousmane Dembele and Paco Alcacer had Barca on track for three points at Balaidos, but Iago Aspas’ 82nd-minute leveller earned the home side a point, after Sergi Roberto had been sent off.

Valverde made eight changes for the game, with just Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Paulinho and Philippe Coutinho surviving Saturday’s win against Valencia.

Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic were all left in Barcelona ahead of Saturday’s Copa del Rey final against Sevilla. Lionel Messi did make the trip to Vigo but only came on for the final half an hour, while Samuel Umtiti, Jordi Alba and Luis Suarez were unused substitutes.

“I wouldn’t call it a good result because we always want to win, but we have to settle with what we’ve got,” Valverde said in his postgame news conference.

“Each team had their moments. The first half was especially open. I think that when we were at our best, the red card came [in the 70th minute] and we had to change things around. We had to suffer late on, but it’s another point and now we just need two wins to be champions.”

Barca now need just two wins or six points from their remaining five league matches to wrap up a seventh league title in 10 years.

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