Barcelona have revealed Samuel Umititi will miss the La Liga game against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night (21 September) after the Frenchman suffered an internal ligament strain to his left knee during a training session. The club have failed to set a recovery schedule, so his availability for the weekend trip to Sporting Gijon is also uncertain.
The news is a blow for manager Luis Enrique ahead of the visit of Diego Simeone's side, as the Frenchman was expected to lead the back-line alongside Gerard Pique. The 22-year-old centre-back has enjoyed an impressive start to the life at the Nou Camp following his €25m (£21.4m, $27.9m) summer arrival from Lyon.
The France international has started all but one of Barcelona's games in La Liga this term, and was also picked ahead of Javier Mascherano for the Champions League opener against Celtic.
However, Luis Enrique will need to turn back to the Argentine to stop Antoine Griezmann and company on Wednesday after the club had revealed Umtiti suffered an internal ligament strain on his left knee during Tuesday's workout.
"FC Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti suffered an internal ligament strain on his left knee during Tuesday morning's training session," the club confirmed. "Therefore, the Frenchman will miss Wednesday's match against Atletico Madrid at the Nou Camp. The progression of his injury will determine exactly how long he will be out for."
The Barcelona boss is aware that his defence needs to be at its best to stop Atletico Madrid's threat on the counter-attack. However, he believes that the effectiveness of the MSN trio – Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar – in front of goal will also be key to beat Los Colchoneros.
"They are still masters of the counter attack and set pieces," the Barcelona boss said in the press conference ahead of the game. "They're candidates for every trophy, so we'll have to get things right against them. We have to limit our mistakes and stick to our game plan," he continued, before adding, "No game against Atlético is easy."
"They base their game on being solid at the back. They are the best team are drawing back. But they also have quality strikers and great mobility." He continued: "Effectiveness in front of goal is likely to be one of the key areas. We need to smother their forwards. This is a game between two teams that know each other well, and that makes it all the more exciting."
Atletico Madrid arrive to face Barcelona following an impressive 5-0 victory over Sporting Gijon, with Griezmann, Kevin Gameiro and Fernando Torres all scoring.