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No regrets over benching Messi, insists Barcelona boss Luis Enrique

Luis Enrique insists he does not regret his decision to start with Lionel Messi on the bench in Barcelona's 1-0 loss at Real Sociedad.

Both Messi and Neymar were left out of the starting line-up for the game in San Sebastian, with Luis Suarez, Munir El Haddadi and Pedro selected up front.

However, with Barca trailing to a Jordi Alba own goal after a dreadfully blunt first-half display, Messi was introduced at the interval, while Neymar entered the fray just before the half-hour mark.

Even with their superstar duo on the field, the Catalans were unable to turn the game around, thus bringing an end to their 11-game unbeaten run in all competitions and 

Barca had also squandered the chance to take advantage of Real Madrid's shock defeat at Valencia earlier in the day and go two points clear at the top of La Liga but Luis Enrique was adamant that he had done the right thing by leaving Messi and Neymar on the bench, given the pair had only returned to training on December 31 after the Christmas break.

"This isn't the time to regret those decisions," he told reporters after the game. "I look at the season as a whole and I do what's best for the team. I thought that it was best not to risk [them].

"[The own goal was] Real Sociedad's only dangerous chance. We controlled the match, especially in the second half when we got closer to their net.

"We deserved more than that. We were a bit unlucky not to have scored an equaliser. Real Sociedad played a complete match."

Barca must now turn their attention to the Copa del Rey and Thursday's last-16, first-leg clash with Elche at Camp Nou.