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'Messi suspension was a positive thing' - Barca boss Luis Enrique welcomes break for key man

13:50 BST 04/04/2017
lionel messi - cropped
The Camp Nou coach was not overly concerned by the Argentine's absence against Granada and has highlighted Luis Suarez's importance to the side

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique believes Lionel Messi's absence for the 4-1 win over Granada at the weekend due to suspension was a positive thing.

The prolific attacker was forced to watch from the stands after receiving his fifth booking of the season in the 4-2 win against Valencia, but Luis Enrique feels it was good for Messi to get some extra rest.

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"We are always keeping an eye on how much everyone plays," the Barcelona coach said head of Wednesday's clash with Sevilla.

"In Messi's case, he missed a game due to suspension.

"But with the busy schedule in mind, I would say this mini-break was a positive thing."

Luis Suarez stepped up in Messi's absence, scoring once and creating another, and Luis Enrique has hailed the Uruguayan's contribution to Barca's overall game.

"There is so much more to Suarez than just his goals," he added.

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"The greatness of our attackers is that they adapt their qualities to what the team needs.

"He contributes so much with his character, desire and competitiveness. It is not just what he does, but also the way he does it."

Luis Enrique benched Andres Iniesta for the win over Granada, but he was quick to stress the influential midfielder still has a role to play.

"It is all about getting the players in the best shape possible," the Barca coach continued.

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"Andres needs some time to get back to his best after his injury problems. He is now approaching his best level again and showing his class on the training pitch.

"We are counting on him in the decisive stages of the season."