Athletic Bilbao boss Eduardo Berizzo said he was ‘surprised’ to see Lionel Messi on the bench for Barcelona on Saturday.
The Catalan side have not had a good couple of games recently, drawing at home to Girona and losing to then – bottom placed Leganes in mid-week.
Valverde opted to leave Sergio Busquets and Lionel Messi on the bench in another squad rotation exercise but as with the aforementioned La Liga games – it failed to come off.
Ousmane Dembele had a good chance in the opening moments, but it was another speedy forward in Inaki Williams, who was causing trouble down the other end.
Williams’ constant good work contributed to the opener as De Marcos got past Jordi Alba and tapped past Marc Andre ter-Stegen.
Busquets and Messi were then hauled off the bench in the second half and they made an instant impact, seeing Messi hit the post before the little Argentine would supply another sub, Munir, with the equaliser.
Berizzo, who has guided Athletic to impressive season opening – told reporters of his surprise to see Messi not included in the starting eleven.
“I was surprised to see Messi on the bench, but I will never talk about what another coach does.
“It did not change our game plan, we executed that well still and had a good defensive line and made sure that they could not hurt us.
“I would have loved to win because of the attitude of my players.”
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