Barcelona head coach Quique Setien has confirmed that both Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are fit to start Sunday’s Primera Division encounter with Mallorca on Sunday, though he has warned that the latter is unlikely to play the duration of the encounter.
While Messi has had a minor muscular complaint in the build up to the fixture, Suarez has been sidelined since January because of knee surgery that was expected to end his season.
The Uruguay international, however, has benefitted from the coronavirus break, which saw football in Spain suspended for three months, with play only returning on Thursday as Sevilla defeated Real Betis 2-0.
Barca will return to action on Sunday, but they should be able to play with two of their key men, according to Setien.
“Suarez is ready to be a starter, but he will not be able to play for the full 90 minutes,” he indicated at a virtual press conference.
“We’ll not take risks with him after five months, but it will be good for him to play and he will need games to be as strong as before his injury.
“Messi is there to play, he is perfectly fine. He has trained well and there is no problem.”
Setien, meanwhile, admitted that there is a juggling act to be performed with who needs game time and who needs rested, with the remainder of the Primera Division schedule set to be played out over a period little longer than a month.
“Messi and many of these players know how to slow down when necessary,” the coach confirmed. “For some players, the longer they are on the pitch, the better.”
The former Betis boss thinks that his side are well primed to attack the last 11 matches of the season, with Barca holding a two-point advantage over Real Madrid at the top of the league.
“I think this break has been good for us, especially in everyone's mind,” he said.
“It has given us time for reflection and analysis that has been very good for us, but other teams have also been able to do that.
“Real Mallorca have been able to freshen up themselves to bring their best level.
“There are many things that can happen. We'll see if we will be better or remain the same."