Martino: Messi must accept substitutions

The Barcelona boss has revealed he has spoken to the Argentine ace about the need to rest him at times this season - but insists he will do so sparingly
Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino says he will not continually substitute Lionel Messi despite admitting that the Argentine must accept the need to be rested this season.

The new Barca boss replaced Messi during the club's 7-0 thrashing of Levante on the opening day of the season in La Liga and, ahead of their Supercopa clash with Atletico Madrid, the former Newell's Old Boys man says he will not be making a habit of withdrawing the four-time Ballon d'Or winner.

"I think it's a matter of compromise from both parties, we've talked about it and Leo understands what it is about but of course I won't substitute him five times in a row," he told reporters.

"It's about balance. I am the coach and I make the decisions, but I seldom take such drastic action without speaking to my players first.

"It doesn't affect my authority if I change my stance on something. If I have to reconsider a decision, I will."

Barcelona head into the first leg of their Supercopa final, knowing they have beat Atletico Madrid in each of their last six meetings.

Despite the one-sided record though, Martino insists the Catalans will be in for a difficult encounter, with Atletico beating Real Madrid to claim their place in the final, while opening their La Liga campaign with a 3-1 victory on Sunday against Sevilla.

"Obviously we are expected to win the Supercopa, so we will try to make sure we get the result against Atletico Madrid but it is not guaranteed," he continued.

"Anything can happen over the 180 minutes it is different from the league where we have 38 fixtures over the course of the season."