Luis Enrique says Barcelona will rest stars against minnows in Copa del Rey

Barcelona are tacitly admitting they aren't too worried about third-tier Huesca in the last-32 of the Copa del Rey, with the first leg of the tie set for Wednesday.
Barcelona players Marc Bartra, left, Xavi, second left, Gerard Pique, centre, and Lionel Messi, right, shown during a team training session on Saturday. Alejandro Garcia / EPA / November 29, 2014
Barcelona players Marc Bartra, left, Xavi, second left, Gerard Pique, centre, and Lionel Messi, right, shown during a team training session on Saturday. Alejandro Garcia / EPA / November 29, 2014

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique is planning to give some of the lesser lights in his squad a chance to impress when the record winners play at third-tier Huesca in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.

“It’s a good chance to see players who have not had many minutes,” Luis Enrique told a news conference before the last-32 first-leg match at Huesca’s tiny Alcoraz stadium in northeastern Spain.

One player who could benefit is forward Pedro, who has yet to spark into life this season in which he has played less due to the arrival of Uruguay striker Luis Suarez.

A World Cup and European Championship winner with Spain who has helped Barca claim two Champions League titles, Pedro has only scored one goal in 12 La Liga appearances this term and has failed to find the net in four Champions League games.

In 2009, he became the first player to score in six different competitions in one calendar year when he struck in La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the Champions League, the Supercopa de Espana, the European Super Cup and the Club World Cup, all of which Barca won.

Luis Enrique, who is in his first season in charge after taking over from Gerardo Martino, said he did not think Pedro had lost confidence and predicted the 27-year-old would get back to form.

“There are always players who have worse and better moments,” Luis Enrique said. “One of the tasks is to get over the times when you are not at your best.”

Barca are on course to meet holders Real Madrid, who beat them in the final last season, or La Liga champions Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals.

The return leg, when Barca host Huesca at the Camp Nou, is on December 16.

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Published: December 2, 2014 04:00 AM

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