Lionel Messi could be among a number of key players rested from Barcelona's game against Celta Vigo on Tuesday, according to coach Ernesto Valverde. The French forward has shown glimpses of his quality after returning from a hamstring injury in January, registering five league assists, although he is yet to get off the mark domestically.
Barca crashed out of the Champions League after a 3-0 loss at Roma last Tuesday and then claimed a hard-fought 2-1 win with a full-strength side against Valencia on Saturday.
The two teams square off for the fourth time in 2017/18, with the Blaugrana just edging results after one win and two draws, and Valverde is expecting another stern test from Celta.
"We will make changes to the team in Vigo, I think it's an important week and that the team needs the rest", Valverde said during a press conference on Monday. The Catalans can take another giant stride towards the title as they travel to face Celta de Vigo, an away game that will be tough without the availability of Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets. "Celta manage games well and will put a lot of pressure on us".
Juan Carlos Unzue's side drew 2-2 at Camp Nou earlier this season and are five points behind sixth-placed Villarreal, giving them an outside chance of securing a spot in the Europa League next season.
Speaking at a press conference reported by ABC Internacional, Unzue said: "We can not set out to draw, we need to win. We have to go out and win, to stand up", Unzue told the press. "Playing against a big team is always an extra motivation for the rest, even if that is subconscious".
Facundo Roncaglia is expected to slot in at right back for Mallo, while Nemanja Radoja will take the place of Hernandez in midfield.
Ivan Rakitic suffered a broken finger last week and may also miss out.