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.
|Simmons and ´stimulating´ 76ers in NBA Finals mix, says Longley|
|Falcons heap further misery on Giants|
|Vidic hails Ronaldo as ultimate professional ahead of Old Trafford return|
|Warriors´ Cousins nearing NBA return|
|Pogba can´t do the basics – Souness criticises Man United star|
|Messi absence big blow for Barca as Icardi talks up Inter|
|´You can´t cry, that´s true´ – Ronaldo responds to Isco|
|Bartomeu: Barca still competitive without Messi|
|Bills RB McCoy remains in concussion protocol|
|Raiders place Marshawn Lynch on IR|
|Emery calm over title talk after another Arsenal win|
|Green: Warriors have to clean up defensively|
|Mariners say Bolt talks ongoing amid reports contract offer was rejected|
|Proud captain Ozil revels in Arsenal´s ´sexy football´|
|Puel angry over Holding handball|
|Cilic breezes through in Basel, Anderson fights back|
|Ingram: Four-game ban better than we expected|
|Raiders send Cooper to Cowboys for first-round pick|
|Arsenal 3 Leicester City 1: Outstanding Ozil inspires comeback win|
|World Series 2018: Three reasons why the Dodgers will win|
|Yarmolenko out for six months after Achilles surgery|
|World Series 2018: Three reasons why the Red Sox will win|
|Ozil eclipses Klinsmann to become Premier League´s most prolific German|
|Allegri expecting Old Trafford battle against Mourinho´s United|
|Bertens feared she did not belong in Kerber clash|
|Returning Ronaldo expecting ´tough´ game against Manchester United|
|Cristiano Ronaldo confident of clearing his name amid rape allegation|
|Osaka looking to learn from losing start in Singapore|
|Kovac expects tough test against AEK Athens|
|Whyte gives Chisora deadline over rematch|
|Spartak Moscow sack Massimo Carrera|
|Atletico Madrid confirm fresh injury issue for Gimenez|
|Dolberg extends Ajax contract after Real Madrid links|
|Ronaldo an example for Lukaku to follow|
|Bertens battles back to blast past Kerber|
|Ramos apologises for training ground fracas|
|Raikkonen should take heed of Alonso misfortune as F1 career winds down|
|Guardiola wants Manchester City fans to push team to Champions League glory|
|Isco not interested in departed Ronaldo - he didn´t want to be here|
|World Series 2018: Three storylines to watch in Red Sox-Dodgers|
|Neymar focus bad for football - PSG´s Maxwell|
|Marco Ianni charged by FA over Jose Mourinho touchline row|
|Stephens sees off Osaka in see-saw Singapore battle|
|I´m happy at Manchester United - Mourinho dismisses Real Madrid reports|
|Semenya and Asher-Smith head IAAF Female World Athlete of the Year shortlist|
|Mandzukic to miss Manchester United trip|
|I turned down Manchester United to return to Juventus - Bonucci|
|Sanchez out of Manchester United´s clash with Juventus|
|Australia make Short work of run chase in T20 win|
|Brotherly g-love! Tommy Fury follows Tyson into the pros|
|Ozil´s international retirement can help Arsenal - Emery|
|If you sack Lopetegui, you have to sack us all – Isco|
|Lopetegui defiant amid Real Madrid sack reports|
|Sri Lanka spinner Herath to retire after Galle Test|
|Ronaldo returns for Old Trafford welcome amid disquieting noise|
|Garcia claims third Andalucia Valderrama Masters title|
|Ex-England international Waldrom retires|
|´Massive personality´ Hart can lift Burnley, says Kompany|
|Liverpool felt wrath of ´emotional´ Klopp, says Shaqiri|
|Reid: Jenkins capitalised on Kaepernick movement|
|Manchester United v Juventus: Ronaldo out to end dismal scoring record against Mourinho|
|Injured Ribery to miss Bayern´s clash with AEK|
|Wilshere would have stayed at Arsenal under Wenger|
|Mahomes stars again as Chiefs crush Bengals|
|Bolt must accept ´much less´ to join Mariners, says A-League chief|
|Klopp compares Liverpool to dog without favourite toy|
|Young leads Hawks to first win, Thunder fall in Westbrook´s return|
|Spalletti hits out at physical Milan – I had three players asking to be replaced|
|Cowboys, Ravens lose after missed kicks in final seconds|
|Hernangomez secures Nuggets´ win over Warriors with last-second block|