Ernesto Valverde says he left Lionel Messi out of the Barcelona starting line-up against Juventus as he felt he needed a rest.
The Argentina star was surprisingly dropped to the substitutes' bench for the 0-0 Champions League draw in Turin on Tuesday, with Barca director of institutional relations, Guillermo Amor, describing it as "a technical decision" and not one made due to injury.
Valverde has now explained he believed Messi would be more useful as a second-half substitute as he expected Juve to be more open.
However, he would not confirm whether it was something he had agreed with Messi in the build-up to the match, with reports in Spain suggesting it had been decided some days ago.
"He has built up a lot of games and we thought this time he could come on for the second half," said Valverde, as quoted by AS.
"We thought the game was going to be tight at the beginning and then it could be opened up later in the second half. That's what happened."
When asked if he had agreed it with Messi this week, he replied: "These are internal decisions of the coach."
0-0 - Barcelona have recorded goalless draws in back-to-back games in Champions League for the first time ever. Strange. pic.twitter.com/vcQP2cMI33— OptaJose (@OptaJose) November 22, 2017
Barca, who secured a place in the last 16 and top spot in Group D with the draw, controlled much of the match without creating too many opportunities against a reasonably defensive Juve side.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen was forced to make a fine save from Paulo Dybala in second-half injury time, though, and Valverde was pleased to see his goalkeeper stay alert for 90 otherwise quiet minutes.
"We came with the intention of winning and we played with personality," he said. "They're a team who press a lot. We dominated for long spells, except in the final few minutes, in which they had the play and had the chance with Dybala.
"Our intention is for Ter Stegen not to have much work and he hasn't, because we've dominated a lot of games, but they had that chance, which was at the end of the game."
Barca now switch their focus to a top-of-the-table clash with Valencia in LaLiga on Sunday.
24 de enero 2019
|Capitals give up fourth hat-trick in five games|
|Durant leaving Warriors would be ´great´ for NBA, says McGrady|
|McEnroe: Serena choked in Australian Open loss|
|De Jong an ´important addition´ at Barca, says Valverde|
|´Better outcome than we originally feared´ – Agent on Anthony Davis injury|
|Pacers sweating on Oladipo injury after Indiana star leaves on stretcher|
|De Jong: I spoke to PSG and City before signing for Barca|
|Guardiola wants finals habit at Man City|
|Lakers star LeBron won´t face Timberwolves|
|Valverde doesn´t regret resting Messi despite Barcelona loss|
|In my heart and in my prayers - Ben Yedder pays tribute to missing Sala|
|Real Madrid reclaim world´s highest-earning club title from Manchester United|
|Messi absence no excuse for Barcelona loss, says Suarez|
|Humble Higuain excited by Sarri reunion|
|He must not come and cry after – Goncalves unapologetic over Neymar injury|
|Serie A record-breaker under Sarri - the Opta numbers behind new Chelsea striker Higuain|
|PSG boss Tuchel ´worried´ after Neymar sent to hospital with another foot injury|
|Coles commits to New Zealand and Hurricanes until 2021|
23 de enero 2019
|Guardiola praises City mentality on ´dangerous´ Burton pitch|
|England won ´attritional´ battle, says Anderson after latest landmark|
|AEK, Brose Bamberg secure last-16 spots|
|Sevilla 2 Barcelona 0: Resting Messi backfires for Copa del Rey holders|
|Sarri: Chelsea players agree with me on motivation comments|
|Morata asked to leave Chelsea a month ago, says Sarri|
|Paris Saint-Germain 2 Strasbourg 0: Neymar suffers injury scare in Coupe victory|
|Anderson´s four-wicket haul rocks Windies|
|Burton Albion 0 Manchester City 1 (0-10 agg): Holders coast through to clinch Wembley return|
|PSG´s Neymar hobbles off in Coupe de France clash|
|De Ligt bored of Ajax departure rumours|
|Piatek completes AC Milan move after Higuain exit|
|Super Bowl LIII: Rams RBs v Patriots RBs|
|Chelsea seal Higuain loan|
|Ismaily kicked out of CAF Champions League after fans throw stones, bottles|
|England star Itoje pens new Saracens deal|
|Palace keeper Hennessey charged over Instagram post|
|Chelsea warn supporters over anti-Semitic chanting ahead of Tottenham EFL Cup tie|
|Joshua primed to make call on next opponent|
|Super Bowl LIII: Brady v Goff|
|Sala search suspended as Cardiff chairman confirms club wanted different travel arrangements|
|Cruyff, Koeman, Kluivert - De Jong following pantheon of Dutch Barca greats|
|Sarfraz apologises for comments picked up by stump mic|
|Djokovic: Pouille deserves top-10 spot|
|Hazard must be more demanding if he wants to leave Chelsea, says Ballack|
|Celtics´ Kyrie Irving to sit out Cavs game with flu-like symptoms|
|Barcelona seal €86m De Jong deal|
|Vietnam v Japan: Moriyasu happy to keep doing just enough|
|Hendricks, De Kock and Steyn join up with Proteas squad|
|Lorenzo excited for ´new level´ at Repsol Honda|
|Fernando replaces injured Pradeep in Sri Lanka squad|
|China v Iran: Queiroz wants to exorcise 2015 quarter-final|
|Balotelli joins Marseille until the end of the season|
|Emery gives Monchi ringing endorsement amid Arsenal sporting director links|
|Larry Fitzgerald returning to Cardinals on one-year deal|
|Watson absence ´an opportunity´ for Scotland hopefuls, says Townsend|
|Pochettino open to new signings but Janssen to remain a Spurs outcast|
|´No trace´ of aircraft so far in Sala search|
|Pochettino will not judge Sarri for criticising Chelsea players|
|From front row to four in a row - Best takes on Farrell at Connect 4|
|Hazard an individual, not a leader - Sarri urges Chelsea star to do more|
|Broad left out of England team for first Test|
|Higuain set to sign for Chelsea but won´t face Tottenham – Sarri|
|McGillvary injury blow for Giants|
|Solari praises Marcelo amid exit rumours|
|A-League Review: Joy and pain for De Jong as Sydney close gap|
|Halfpenny, Davies and Williams set to miss France clash|
|India to rest Kohli from back end of New Zealand tour|
|The hand is good - Farrell expects to be fit to face Ireland|
|Martinez leaves Arsenal for Reading loan|
|Beckham becomes Salford City shareholder|
|Maradona hopes Sala will be found alive|