Valverde defends Barcelona rotation

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde defended his decision to rotate his squad after his side were held to a 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo on Tuesday.

Goals from Ousmane Dembele and Paco Alcacer were cancelled out by Jonny Otto and Iago Aspas, with Barca reduced to 10 men in the second half when Sergi Roberto was sent off.

A host of regulars were rested for Barca, with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez among those starting on the bench, as the runaway leaders stretched their unbeaten La Liga run this season to 33 games.

With his side facing Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday, Valverde said changes were necessary.

"It is true that there were changes. There were players who came from continuous games and I thought it suited us," he said.

"It is a risk to make so many changes, but in the Copa [against Celta in January] we also made changes. I think we arrived well.

"Let's see if we give our people joy on Saturday."

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Barca were 2-1 up when Roberto, who came off the bench on the hour-mark, saw red in the 71st minute.

Valverde felt the dismissal turned the game, but his side held on to move 12 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid.

"We don't take it for granted because we always think about winning, but we have to settle for what we have," he said.

"I thought that we were the better side, then came the red card and we had to change things.

"Afterwards, we didn't have the capacity to form an attack that would have pushed them back completely, and thus the equaliser came.

"It is one more point and now we need two victories to be champions. We would like to get them, but we'll see."

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