Barcelona manager Quique Setien is confident captain Lionel Messi will be fit to face Real Mallorca on Saturday.
The Catalan giants will resume their 2019-20 La Liga campaign at Son Moix after a break of three months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Messi’s participation in the game has been in doubt due to a “minor” quadriceps injury that has meant he has trained alone rather than with the group.
“Messi is not the only one who has not trained and has had some discomfort, it has happened to many, it is a minor contracture, we have controlled it, he is perfectly well and will not have any problem [facing Real Mallorca].”
Barcelona Can’t Afford to Drop Points
Barcelona restart their campaign top of the table by two points from Real Madrid, but Setien has already warned his team they must win all of their remaining 11 games if they are to retain their title.
“We think that we have to win every game if we want to be champions. We’re doing well and we know that we have to be in top form to compete and win every game. We are in a good place mentally and we will see how the games go -and the difficulties posed by our opponents.”
The Catalan giants have already been beaten five times in the league this season, more defeats than they suffered in the entirety of their previous league campaign. And they will be expected to beat a Real Mallorca side who restart in the relegation zone.
Vicente Moreno’s side have won only seven of their 27 games so far and have the second-worst defensive record in the division with 44 goals conceded.
Setien Has Decisions to Make
There is no doubt that Messi will start if he is fit but Setien does have decisions to make elsewhere for Barcelona’s first game back.
Centre-back Clement Lenglet is suspended for yellow card accumulation which means either Samuel Umtiti or 21-year-old Barcelona B defender Ronald Araujo will partner Gerard Pique in the heart of the defence.
Setien must also decide whether or not to start Luis Suarez in attack. He also offered an update on the striker to Movistar.
“He is better than we expected, but the question is to see how he is after so long [out], to see if he is ready to start.”
Suarez has been given the green light to return to action after almost five months out following knee surgery but has not started a game since January.