Barcelona will be without Frenkie de Jong and Sergi Roberto for Friday’s La Liga clash with Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium due to injury.
Netherlands international De Jong has a calf strain, while Roberto has a rib fracture the club confirmed on Thursday. French center-back Samuel Umtiti will also miss the game because of suspension.
Manager Quique Setien has been boosted by the return of Jordi Alba from suspension for what is a difficult game against La Liga’s third-placed team. The coach has also called up Barcelona B youngsters Alex Collado, Kike Saverio, Monchu, and Chumi for Friday’s match.
Setien Offers Update on Duo
Setien offered updates on the injuries to De Jong and Roberto during his pre-match press conference on Thursday morning. The coach said that De Jong’s injury was not too serious but he did not want to risk making it any worse.
“Frenkie has a niggle that hasn’t quite cleared up yet. Instead of risking him and making it more serious we prefer for him to come back fully fit. We’d rather he missed one than four because the situation got worse.”
De Jong has been a virtual ever-present since joining Barcelona from Ajax in the summer. He started Barcelona’s 4-0 win over Real Mallorca but asked to come off late on because of an injury.
Setien also spoke about Roberto’s rib injury and suggested the versatile 28-year-old may be able to play through the pain barrier during Barcelona’s run-in.
“It’s a pity. We weren’t expecting to lose him. We’ll see how he develops and how his injury progresses. If he can withstand the pain then we will have him back gradually. He held out well against Leganes even though the damage has already been done. We’ll see how he feels. There’s no forecast of when he’ll return, if it’ll be one game or a few. It will depend on how he goes.”
Roberto has started both of Barcelona’s games since La Liga resumed after a three-month break because of Covid-19. Portugal international Nelson Semedo is expected to replace him in the starting XI for Friday’s match.
Sevilla to Provide Tough Test
Barcelona has been in good form since returning to action. They have beaten Real Mallorca and Leganes in their first two games back and are yet to concede a goal against the two struggling teams.
Sevilla will provide an altogether tougher test, and Setien is well aware his team will need to be at their best if they are to take home all three points.
“Sevilla are having a great season. They are playing at a good level. Bearing in mind the history of their games against Barca, results have been good for us but we have had difficulties. They can be a bit treacherous. We know we’re playing the third-place team, at home, and they will make things difficult. We’ll need to be at an extraordinary level if we are to win. If we do then it won’t be definitive, but the momentum and the confidence it will give us will be something positive.”
Friday’s match looks on paper to be one of Barca’s toughest during the run-in, although they can take confidence from the fact they beat Sevilla 4-0 at the Camp Nou back in October.