Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has joined different managers in lashing out on the packed European soccer calendar after deciding to relaxation Lionel Messi for Tuesday’s Champions League journey to Dynamo Kyiv.
Barca misplaced Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto to critical accidents in Saturday’s 1-Zero defeat by Atletico Madrid in La Liga, leaving them with solely three defenders within the first group squad for the journey to Ukraine.
While the loss to Atletico sealed their worst begin to a La Liga season in 29 years, Barca are flying excessive in Europe with three wins out of three in Group G and victory in opposition to Dynamo will clinch their place within the final 16.
Koeman mentioned his aspect’s sturdy place in Group G was behind him resting Messi and Dutch midfielder Frenkie De Jong however he additionally took a swipe on the unforgiving soccer schedule, saying world organiser FIFA and European counterpart UEFA ought to take motion.
“Sometimes you need to protect the players because the game calendar is incredible,” Koeman instructed a digital information convention on Monday.
“We thought it was a good moment to rest Leo and Frenkie as most of our players have played every minute with us and then they played with the national teams and Messi had a difficult trip back from South America (after playing for Argentina).”
The gruelling European schedule, which has been additional squeezed by the COVID-19 pandemic, has come below renewed scrutiny just lately as a result of mounting accidents.
Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp took intention at broadcasters Sky and BT on Sunday over match scheduling, whereas Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane additionally mentioned there have been too many video games.
“It’s impossible to keep the players fit,” added Koeman.
“Look at the example of Sergi Roberto, the reason he got injured was because of playing too many games. Everybody knows this but still we need to continue to play this number of games, it’s incredible.
“It’s time for UEFA, FIFA to think about what they are doing to footballers, the amount of games they need to play is crazy.”
Koeman added that 21-year-old defender Oscar Mingueza could possibly be handed his Barca debut in opposition to Dynamo because of the group’s lack of choices on the again, with Samuel Umtiti and Ronald Araujo nonetheless carrying accidents.
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge)