FC Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez has offered an explanation for both Frenkie de Jong and Ousmane Dembele failing to start on Thursday.
La Blaugrana took on German outfit Eintracht Frankfurt in the first of two Europa League quarter-final clashes.
Barcelona headed into the game as favourites, but Eintracht put up a solid fight and caused the away outfit all sorts of issues at the back.
The hosts even went 1-0 up after 48 minutes thanks to a stunning effort from Ansgar Knauff:
The game was, however, turned on its head when Xavi made a double substitution, introducing de Jong and Dembele for Adama Traore and Gavi.
Four minutes after the pair came on, Barcelona bagged an equaliser when de Jong set up Ferran Torres, before Eintracht were reduced to 10 men after 78 minutes.
So, considering the positive impact Dembele and de Jong had off the bench, why did they not start the game?
Well, as per Xavi: "We had to rest Frenkie and Dembélé because they were tired."
Levante vs Barcelona
Barcelona must now turn their attentions towards La Liga, where they will face Levante on Sunday evening.
The Catalan powerhouse head into the game sitting 2nd in the Spanish top-flight, 12 points behind Real Madrid with a game in hand.
And though the chances of Barca catching Real now look slim to none, they will nevertheless still be hopeful of a strong finish to the 2021/22 campaign.
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