Ernesto Valverde says he left Lionel Messi out of the Barcelona starting line-up against Juventus as he felt he needed a rest.
The Argentina star was surprisingly dropped to the substitutes' bench for the 0-0 Champions League draw in Turin on Tuesday, with Barca director of institutional relations, Guillermo Amor, describing it as "a technical decision" and not one made due to injury.
Valverde has now explained he believed Messi would be more useful as a second-half substitute as he expected Juve to be more open.
However, he would not confirm whether it was something he had agreed with Messi in the build-up to the match, with reports in Spain suggesting it had been decided some days ago.
"He has built up a lot of games and we thought this time he could come on for the second half," said Valverde, as quoted by AS.
"We thought the game was going to be tight at the beginning and then it could be opened up later in the second half. That's what happened."
When asked if he had agreed it with Messi this week, he replied: "These are internal decisions of the coach."
0-0 - Barcelona have recorded goalless draws in back-to-back games in Champions League for the first time ever. Strange. pic.twitter.com/vcQP2cMI33— OptaJose (@OptaJose) November 22, 2017
Barca, who secured a place in the last 16 and top spot in Group D with the draw, controlled much of the match without creating too many opportunities against a reasonably defensive Juve side.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen was forced to make a fine save from Paulo Dybala in second-half injury time, though, and Valverde was pleased to see his goalkeeper stay alert for 90 otherwise quiet minutes.
"We came with the intention of winning and we played with personality," he said. "They're a team who press a lot. We dominated for long spells, except in the final few minutes, in which they had the play and had the chance with Dybala.
"Our intention is for Ter Stegen not to have much work and he hasn't, because we've dominated a lot of games, but they had that chance, which was at the end of the game."
Barca now switch their focus to a top-of-the-table clash with Valencia in LaLiga on Sunday.
14. Dezember 2017
|Almiron blocked from becoming Las Palmas coach|
|Ligue 1 adopts VAR from next season|
|Calabria extends AC Milan contract|
|Everton give new deals to Calvert-Lewin, Holgate & Kenny|
|Gooch backs Cook to rediscover England form|
|Itoje could return before Six Nations|
|Under-fire Hughes promises results will come for Stoke|
|Mourinho asked to explain pre-Manchester derby comments|
|Stoger sets Dortmund end of year target|
|Dyche: No swaggering from high-flying Burnley|
|Watzke plays down Nagelsmann rumour as Dortmund plan for 2018|
|Guardiola´s record runs with Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Barcelona compared|
|Martin lashes out at ´double standards´ in Froome ´scandal´|
|Day two crucial for England´s Ashes chances - Gooch|
|Benteke goal drought a concern for Hodgson|
|Nibali to skip 2018 Giro to focus on Tour|
|City look frightening – Rose|
|Kahn regrets rejecting Manchester United|
|Ireland scrum-half Marmion commits to Connacht|
|Giants president Mara wants Manning back for 2018|
|Malan pleased to silence the doubters with maiden century|
|No Australia involvement in fixing allegations - Paine|
|Bayern wrapping up Ribery for Christmas|
|Wilshere no closer to signing fresh Arsenal contract|
|Resurgent Rooney has Europe´s best shot-conversion record|
|Froome fears salbutamol stigma for asthma sufferers|
|Pastore bullish over PSG chances against Madrid|
|Paine calls on Australia to trigger England collapse|
|Independiente boss overjoyed by ´dream´ Copa Sudamericana success|
|Malan ´over the moon´ with first Test century|
|Silva is an animal - Guardiola|
|The Ashes Round-up: Malan´s maiden hundred steals the show|
|Malan and Bairstow shine as England prosper in Perth|
|Hewitt to come out of retirement at Australian Open|
|Wenger not blaming Sanchez for Arsenal´s goal woes|
|I haven´t broken any rules - Froome believes legacy remains untainted|
|Stokes finds form with 93 off 47 balls|
|Mourinho can´t find room for misfiring Mkhitaryan|
|De Grandhomme to miss ODI series following death of his father|
|Aggressive Aussies dismiss Stoneman and Root in eventful session|
|Thunder lift George in return to Indiana, Celtics bounce back|
|Stoneman targets Aussies in exciting start to Perth Test|
|Guardiola tells fans Man City won´t stop after record-breaking win|
|George has ´closure´ as Pacers continue to rise|
|Rodgers ´not coming back to save´ Packers|
|Angels manager Scioscia has no concerns about Ohtani´s elbow|
|Mirabelli: Donnarumma has to beg Milan if he wants to leave|
|ICC: No evidence to suggest Ashes Test has been corrupted|
|Marsh comes in for Handscomb as England bat first in Perth|
|Bayern lacked verve, says Heynckes|
|Di Maria wants more game time at PSG after goalscoring display|
|Monaco stay unbeaten, Ludwigsburg crush PAOK|
|Fixing allegations ´of serious concern´ to Cricket Australia|
|Gattuso: Donnarumma shaken by abuse from AC Milan fans|
|Pellegrino calls for Southampton reaction|
|Benitez ´needs to know´ extent of Newcastle´s transfer budget|
|Zidane will not request striker signing despite Benzema blanks|
|Bournemouth excellent in Old Trafford loss – Howe|
|Wilshere´s performance ´very positive´, says Wenger|
|Pochettino challenges Spurs to keep top-four berth|
|I´d be in Brazil if the title race was over – Mourinho|
13. Dezember 2017
|It was hard to watch - Clement wowed by City´s dominance of Swansea|
|Bailly may require surgery on ´serious´ ankle injury|
|Klopp uncertain on Solanke´s disallowed goal|
|Guardiola sure record-breaking City won´t get complacent|
|Puel focuses on Leicester win, not Southampton revenge|
|Strasbourg 2 Paris Saint-Germain 4: Revenge is sweet for Emery´s men|
|Tottenham 2 Brighton and Hove Albion 0: Aurier scores a fluke as Spurs go fourth|
|West Ham 0 Arsenal 0: Wasteful Gunners drop points for third game in a row|
|Liverpool 0 West Brom 0: More frustration for Klopp as hosts draw again|