Coronavirus: Barcelona will be harmed by five substitutes – Setien

By Sports Desk May 29, 2020

Barcelona head coach Quique Setien believes the five substitutions per game will have a negative impact on the LaLiga champions as the league prepares to restart following the coronavirus crisis.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc globally, with the LaLiga season suspended since March, but the 2019-20 campaign is set to resume on June 11.

LaLiga teams will be allowed to make five substitutions – instead of the usual three – to help avoid injuries and keep players fresh following the coronavirus-enforced hiatus, just like Germany's Bundesliga.

But Setien, whose Barca were two points clear of Real Madrid atop the table with 11 matches remaining, believes the additional substitutes will hurt the Catalan giants.

"I don't know if it will harm us or benefit us," Setien told the Las Palmas Football Federation. "I think it will harm us because of our way of playing.

"We know that a lot of matches we will resolve in the final minutes. If you give the rival the option of putting on fresh players in that time, the weakness that is generated, with tired players, won't come about.

"But it can also give you resources in a specific moment. It's an unknown quantity and we'll see how it goes."

LaLiga will return with the Seville derby between Sevilla and Real Betis on June 11.

On Friday, Spain's Higher Council of Sport (CSD) said it had agreed the resumption plans with the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and LaLiga.

The CSD issued a statement that confirmed plans for the season to end on July 18-19.

"There will be lots of games in a short time," Setien said. "The heat will have an influence on performance and it will affect injuries.

"We're hoping that it does less damage than people think [it will]. It's possible that there will be lots of injuries like in Germany, because we've spent almost two months sitting on the sofa, not playing."

Setien added: "We're going to play for our objectives in the 11 games [remaining] and that means a stress that we don't know how it will influence us.

"All the teams are starting from zero. There will be 11 games and we have to win them, and we have every chance to win the league. The teams will seem little like the [teams] they were when they finished [playing in March]."

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