Gerard Pique unsure whether Lionel Messi would be recalled for the Copa del Rey
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has said that he is unsure whether Lionel Messi will make the squad for the second leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final against Sevilla. Ernesto Valverde decided to field a weakened strike force during the first leg at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan and that ended up costing them with Sevilla running out 2-0 victors.
Speaking after the game, Pique admitted that Messi’s inclusion for the second leg of the competition could be dependent on the manager, given the congested schedule ahead for the Catalan giants, he said:“First we have to play the league game against Girona and then focus on the return leg at the Camp Nou. Whether Messi plays is the decision for the coach.
“In the first half we had a very clear opportunity and in the second we could have risked a little more to try and draw the match but Sevilla were better, and I congratulate them for it. We have a very competitive squad and the coach wants us all to participate. The performance was good but they took advantage of all their chances.”
Barcelona found themselves in a similar situation during the round of 16 stage of the competition where they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Levante on the road. However, they managed to make amends with a 3-0 triumph with Lionel Messi returning to the mix and it remains to be seen whether Valverde would go with the same option against Sevilla later in the month.
The Blaugrana are scheduled to Girona in a cross-town derby this weekend and the game offers them a chance to maintain the five-point advantage over Atletico Madrid at the top of the league table. Thereafter, they are expected to face Sevilla in the home leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final with the hope of continuing the hunt for a fifth-straight Cup title.