Luis Enrique has stressed that he discussed Lionel Messi’s substitute role in Barcelona’s 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon with the Argentina attacker before the game.
The 28-year-old was last benched during his side’s defeat at the hands of Real Sociedad last season and Messi reacting with frustration to his substitute role back in January.
Luis Enrique does not fear the forward will be sulking this time around, though, as they agreed Messi could do with some rest after travelling with the Argentina national team before becoming a father for the second time on Friday.
“Leo is key for us and we have to take care of him,” said coach Luis Enrique.
“We spoke with him before the game. We knew he had been travelling and we wanted to rest him for later in the game.
“We have a deep squad and that’s important.”
Luis Enrique also voiced his delight with the Catalans’ performance against Atletico, before warning that they have not achieved anything just yet.
“I liked the way we played throughout the game. We had a huge game. We both wanted to win, but we were very good from the start, very consistent and very focused,” he added.
“We dominated and turned the tables when things looked grim. It’s great when you can keep a team like Atletico from creating chances.
“We have a tough schedule and it’s very important to beat a direct rival. But we still have a lot to do.”