Sevilla head coach Jorge Sampaoli will not rest any of his star performers for Wednesday’s Champions League match against Dinamo Zagreb despite Barcelona lying in wait in LaLiga this weekend.
The three-time reigning Europa League champions are on the verge of progressing to the knockout stages of Europe’s premier competition as they sit level on seven points with Group H leaders Juventus.
Dinamo, by contrast are without a point to their name at the midway stage following Sevilla’s 1-0 win in Zagreb last time out.
Sevilla are in fine form at home and abroad this term, with a 3-1 reverse at Athletic Bilbao their solitary defeat since Barca claimed the Supercopa de Espana at their expense.
They lie fourth, a point and two places behind defending champions Barca in LaLiga, but Sampaoli told a pre-match news conference: “I’m only focused on our next match and after the Zagreb clash, we will think about Barcelona.
“I will play with my best players against Dinamo because it is a Champions League match, it is like a final where if we win, we will able to play in the next stage and survive in the best competition in the world.
“This match will be different because Dinamo in Zagreb made many substitutions [at the weekend] and [on Wednesday] they surely will play with their best players. They will play to have options to continue playing in the Europa League.”
One man Sampaoli is unable to call upon is Samir Nasri, with the playmaker – who has performed impressively since joining on a season-long loan from Manchester City – laid low by a hamstring injury sustained during the 1-1 weekend draw at Sporting Gijon.
“We must to learn to play without Nasri, it will be difficult but we have to do it,” Sampaoli added.
“He is a really important player for us, he helps the team with his qualities and our game orbits around him.”