No rest for Neymar, Suarez as Barca face BATE
By Tim Hanlon
BARCELONA (Reuters) – Barcelona strikers Neymar and Luis Suarez have been the driving force behind recent victories but despite crunch matches ahead coach Luis Enrique has no plans to rest them for the Champions League clash with BATE Borisov at the Nou Camp on Wednesday.
The duo have compensated for the loss of four-times world player of the year Lionel Messi by leading from the front to keep Barca on course in La Liga and the Champions League.
The Catalan side have won their last three league games since the international break and beat BATE away in Champions League Group E to top with seven points from three games.
Neymar and Suarez have contributed 10 goals in four games to help Barca move joint top of La Liga with Real Madrid on 24 points from 10 games.
Barca have been stretched by injuries and a FIFA ban on buying players over the last two transfer windows and they face BATE, who they beat 4-0 at home in 2011, with Villarreal and Real Madrid round the corner.
“The objective is to beat BATE Borisov and to win the group,” Luis Enrique told a news conference on Tuesday.
“Obviously the importance of finishing first depends on who is second in the other groups but we want to give a message that we are ready and prepared.”
Luis Enrique took particular care last season in resting players so that the treble winners were their strongest at the business end of the campaign.
“It is not a worry,” Luis Enrique said. “Last year I was able to do what I wanted with the amount of minutes that players had, even though I was criticised at the time, and now I am restricted by the number of players available.
“We will have players back soon, along with other players available in January, and we will see if then we can arrange the minutes played because I am aware that the trophies are disputed in the final months and that is the key.”
(Editing by Ed Osmond)