Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has acknowledged he may rest his star names against Bayer Leverkusen but insisted his side will not let up in their Champions League dead rubber.
The European champions are already guaranteed top spot in Group E prior to Wednesday’s meeting at the BayArena while Leverkusen need a win to stand of a chance of progression.
Amid suggestions the likes of Lionel Messi – who scored five times in a 7-1 win against Leverkusen in 2012 – could be rested, Luis Enrique refused to divulge any possible absences from the starting XI.
“Tomorrow is a good day to tell my players who will play before the media, that’s always my system,” he said.
“Messi is capable of anything. There’s nothing that can surprise us about Leo. We want him to play as much as possible but we need to think about his condition. I have to take lots of things into consideration, there are some players I have left behind in Barcelona.
“The squad is what it is. I’m not just giving away minutes for free, only if I think a player can give us something. You know I don’t make my selection public.
“I always speak with my players before the press but I take all these things into consideration – games they’ve played, games they’ve rested and travelling.”
Gerard Pique and Andres Iniesta have not made the trip to Germany while Dani Alves misses out due to suspension.
The injured quartet of Jeremy Mathieu, Sergi Roberto, Douglas and Rafinha are also absent.
Luis Enrique continued: “I don’t like to talk about such rumours. Our team has an identity and a way of playing. Why should it disappear?
“We always play with intensity and that’s never happened since I’ve been here. Why would you think that? I don’t think it will.
“Obviously the result is more important to the opponent than us. That can be good or bad.
“We just need to go and play the way we always like to and try to win game with a certain tranquillity knowing it doesn’t really matter.
“We want to play because that’s the way we like playing and the best way of feeling good about ourselves and team identity.”
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