Barcelona coach Setien defends Griezmann ahead of Leganes tie

Madrid, June 15 (IANS) FC Barcelona coach Quique Setien defended striker Antoine Griezmann on Monday ahead of his side's second game in the return to LaLiga action.

Barca entertain struggling Leganes in an empty Camp Nou Stadium on Tuesday night following their 4-0 win in Mallorca on Saturday night.

Setien admitted it would be strange to play in front of a ground that is usually filled with over 90,000 fans. “I don't know how much it will affect us, but we would rather play with supporters — football loses part of its essence when the ground is empty, but it's what we have to do at the moment,” he said, reports xinhua news agency.

He was also asked about striker Griezmann, who has only scored eight league goals since his move from Atletico Madrid last summer and whose place would be under threat after Luis Suarez's recovery from a knee operation.

“Griezmann's place is unquestionable, he is a great footballer and we knew that when we signed him,” insisted Setien. “He is important for the club and for the team, but we will have to also use other players,” he added, announcing changes to the side which won on Saturday.

Jordi Alba is suspended, while Clement Lenglet is available after suspension and others such as Ivan Rakitic, Nelson Semedo or Arthur Melo will also hope to start.

“There are going to be changes and they will continue as we continue to play so many games. We have to see how the players react and recover as I don't want them to get exhausted.”

“We want to avoid injuries and for the players to be as fresh as possible. You have to count on all of your players, but then you have to adapt to circumstances,” said the Barca coach.



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