Sevilla coach Unai Emery insists his team cannot afford to rest players for Friday’s clash against Levante, saying Ever Banega was no chance of playing after international duty.
Banega played 90 minutes for Argentina in a 2-2 friendly draw against Mexico in Texas on Tuesday and is yet to train with Sevilla since his return.
Despite potentially resting players ahead of their UEFA Champions League campaign starting, Emery said the Levante clash was crucial.
Sevilla have taken just one point from their opening two La Liga games to sit 17th in the table.
“Banega’s been left out basically because he played on Tuesday night. We’ve been given the Friday night slot and he hasn’t been able to train with the rest because he’s only just got back,” Emery said.
“It’s an important loss but we’ve made up for it with the preparation work we’ve done with the rest of the players.
“We haven’t reserved him for the Champions League because the Levante game is far more important at the moment than Tuesday’s.”
Emery had mixed feelings about playing on Friday, given his side get more recovery time ahead of their Champions League meeting with Borussia Monchengladbach.
But he said that was also the key reason was Banega was unavailable.
“As Sevilla coach, what matters most to me is Sevilla. I’d rather none of my players had to go out on international duty, which I know, is selfish of me,” Emery said.
“Playing on Friday suits us because we will have more time to rest before Tuesday’s game, but if Banega has played in the early hours of Tuesday morning then he’s not going to be ready in time for tomorrow’s game.
“There are pros and cons, but like I say, the Levante game is our most important game right now.”