Martino: It is better for Messi to miss training then play well

The Barcelona boss feels his compatriot will benefit from extra rest prior to his side's weekend clash with Valencia and claims the Camp Nou outfit are "lacking freshness" up front
Gerardo Martino insists it is better for Lionel Messi to skip training sessions if it means he can give his all on the pitch for Barcelona.

The Argentina star missed training on Friday ahead of Barca's weekend meeting with Valencia after picking up a thigh injury during the first leg of the Supercopa de Espana against Atletico Madrid.

But boss - and compatriot - Martino feels the added rest will benefit his side's chances at the Mestalla on Sunday.

"When he has a niggle we need to take care. So he didn’t train yesterday and today he was fine. Tomorrow he’ll be good. It’s better to be able to play a match than spend an hour training," Martino said at a press conference.

The Blaugrana have struggled in attack since their opening day 7-0 rout of Levante, with just two goals scored in their last three fixtures, and Martino concedes there is a lack of sharpness in his forward line at present.

"We’re lacking freshness. We’re not conceding goals and teams aren’t making chances against us, though [Victor] Valdes made two cracking saves against Atletico and one against Malaga.

"We need to sort out the goalscoring. With the potential we have up front I think we should be scoring, the key therefore is not giving any [goals] away."

Barca have had an excellent record at the Mestalla in recent years but Martino has warned that they face no easy task against Valencia, paying particular tribute to Ever Banega.

"The stats show we haven’t lost there since 2006 but we’ve only won two," added the 50-year-old. "We need to play well and try to win. They’ll be up for it and they’ve got decent players who always try to attack.

"They played well against Malaga, better than against Espanyol, who won playing defensively. We’ll try and find our best form, to show what we’re capable of. It’s important to neutralise Banega, he’s a dangerous player who could hurt us."