Lionel Messi
Barcelona were held to a goalless draw by Getafe at the Nou Camp. Getty


  • The Catalans have been held to successive draws in La Liga by Espanyol and Getafe.
  • Lionel Messi and co will have a recovery session on Monday [12 February] before enjoying two days off.

Lionel Messi and co have been given two days off ahead of the upcoming crucial clashes against Eibar (17 February) and Chelsea (20 February) after Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde admitted to having concerns over his players suffering from fatigue following the goalless draw against Getafe on Sunday (11 February).

The La Liga leaders began the month with an 11-point cushion over Atletico Madrid but they have seen that advantage reduce to just seven following two consecutive draws against Espanyol and Getafe.

The home game with the Madrid-based side came just three days after Barcelona booked their place in the Copa del Rey final by beating Valencia and Valverde believes that the hectic schedule is punishing his side.

"We were lacking some freshness and rhythm, especially in the first half," the Barcelona boss said in the press conference following the goalless draw at the Nou Camp.

"Getafe are a team who stop you from playing so you don't get close to their box. As the game went on we attacked more and more and despite our best efforts it wasn't to be. They defended their box well and we lacked a bit of spark,"

"We have had a busy month and have just reached a final. We can't win every game we play or be 100% all the time, and this is why the coming week without a game comes at a great time for us to recover."

For the first time since the winter break Barcelona will have a week without a midweek game and Valverde hopes it will help his side to regain their best form ahead of a crucial run of games which will see the Catalans visit Eibar three days before traveling to Chelsea for the first leg of the Champions League last 16.

"We have a week in which we can recover and rest. We want to face the coming run of fixtures in La Liga and the Champions League with the best hopes," Valverde said.

"We will train tomorrow (on Monday 12 February) and then we will give the players two days off. We will return on Thursday to begin preparations for Eibar and then we will prepare the Champions League game.

"I start looking at Chelsea since the draw. But in a month with so many matches you always focus more on the following game. We have seen and analysed Chelsea during this time but this week we will focus a bit more on them. But the first is the first and is [the La Liga trip to] Eibar."

Valverde will be hoping to recall Gerard Pique and Thomas Vermaelen in the coming days after the centre-backs missed the goalless draw with Getafe due to varying problems.

In their place, the Barcelona boss was happy with the performance of Yerry Mina and Lucas Digne, with the Colombian impressing on his La Liga debut and the French left-back partnering him in the heart of the back-line.

"The positive news was the performance of Yerry and Lucas, who both did well. Lucas was out of position and it was Yerry's first start, so it wasn't the usual defence but we got through the game without too many scares," Valverde added.

"At the beginning they had to adapt quickly to our style because Getafe were pressing high. They played very well and we didn't have too many worries at the back. As the game went on, they improved. I am happy for them as it was a difficult job and they coped well with it."