MX23RW : Saturday, October 19 00:17:46| >> :600:32162171:32162171:
Sep 29, 2018 at 3.15pm UK at ​Camp Nou
Attendance: 78,015
Athletic Bilbao
FT(HT: 0-1)
de Marcos (41')

Ernesto Valverde: 'I was right to rest Lionel Messi'

Valverde: 'I was right to rest Messi'
© Reuters
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde backs his decision to rest Lionel Messi on Saturday, despite the Catalan club drawing 1-1 with Athletic Bilbao.

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has backed his decision to rest Lionel Messi on Saturday, despite the Catalan club drawing 1-1 with Athletic Bilbao.

Messi was substituted on after 55 minutes and had a hand in Barca's late equaliser after his shot was turned in by Munir El Haddadi, but the hosts men could not find a winner after recovering from Oscar De Marcos's earlier strike.

Valverde admitted to reporters at his post-match press conference that while resting Messi was his "responsibility", he did so with one eye on the Champions League next week.

"Leaving Messi on the bench is absolutely my responsibility," the manager said. "He has four games in 10 days and I think it's good for Leo to rest, like [Sergio] Busquets, thinking of the Champions League.

"I know it was the right decision. It was a risk and on this occasion, it didn't come off."

Barcelona face Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on Wednesday evening.

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Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams in action during a La Liga match in April 2018
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