Gerardo Martino saw his side win 4-1 against Real Sociedad last night, with goals from Neymar, his first in the league for his new club, Messi, Sergio Busquets and Marc Bartra.

The Barca boss took Messi off in the 81st minute explaining that he needs Messi fit and healthy for the end of the season.

Martino, on the club's official website, said: “My obligation is to take care of Messi. We need all of the players to be healthy and especially him, he needs to be healthy for the decisive moments of the season.

“If we have the chance, we will try to give him a bit of rest. Leo wants to play it all.”

There has been criticism of Barca’s playing style of late and Martino was eager to praise his side's performance.

“I think we played a good match, especially in the first half. I’m satisfied with the team,” said Martino.

“We aim to play like this always, but it’s not easy. We also aim to work in other variables like changes of pace and a more vertical approach.

“In the second half we pressed less, but we were doing a bit of everything when we were at our best: we pressured up top, when our rivals were trying to play from the back, it was more obvious then.”

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La Liga
Lionel Messi