Madrid, June 7 (IANS) FC Barcelona coach Quique Setien on Sunday admitted that he would like more time to work with his squad ahead of the restart of the La Liga season next week.

League leaders Barca play the first of their 11 remaining matches away to Real Mallorca in six days’ time, after just 11 days of being able to train with the entire squad, reports Xinhua news agency.

The return to training has seen the squad suffer several injury scares, with Lionel Messi, Samuel Umtiti, Ansu Fati and Nelson Semedo all suffering muscle injuries of varying seriousness since returning to work.

Speaking to the Barcelona website, Setien admitted that although the players were “extra motivated” after a three-month lay-off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, “we needed an extra week to really be in shape.”

He pointed out that the lack of friendly games before the return to competition would make things different, as “the usual thing in pre-season is to play games and to spread the minutes around the squad, but now that is going to be different.”

“We are in good mental shape, so we will see how the games go and also in the condition our rivals are,” added Setien, who also lamented that the end of the season will be played out in front of empty stands.

“Everyone is going to miss the stimulus of having the public supporting them as they are important, but it is a special situation and we will try to make the best of it, because it will be the same for everyone,” he concluded.




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