Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova insists he is not worried that centre-back Gerard Pique could miss next month's La Liga clash with Real Madrid through injury as he has youth-team defenders who can fill in.
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Lionel Messi's late double was enough for Barcelona to see off Spartak Moscow 3-2 in Wednesday's Champions League opener at Camp Nou, but most post-match attention was focused on the news that Pique faces two to three weeks out after leaving the field early with an ankle problem.
Pique, 25, fell awkwardly while attempting a shot in the Spartak area after just seven minutes and although he tried to play on he was withdrawn four minutes later with ex-Arsenal man Alex Song taking his place in the heart of the Barca defence alongside fellow converted midfielder Javier Mascherano.
The Catalans released a statement after the game saying Pique would be out for two to three weeks with a sprained left ankle and, with fellow centre-back Carles Puyol unlikely to be back until November due to a knee ligament injury, the Barca boss now has some thinking to do ahead of Madrid's visit to Camp Nou on October 7.
However, Vilanova told Spanish TV after the game that Barcelona would handle the situation by turning to their cantera (youth system).
"We will put out one of the youth players, as we always do here," Vilanova said. "There is no problem. The other day in Getafe we played with ten homegrown players and it would have 11 if Jordi Alba had been available.
"We have been an example in this and we will keep being one. Here we develop players and we have the courage to play them."
This could mean one of Andreu Fontas, 22, Marc Muniesa, 20, or Marc Bartra, 20, will step in for Granada at home on Saturday, the trip to Sevilla next week, and October's Clasico. Vilanova had Bartra on the bench against Spartak, but said he preferred to turn to Song as he was in better condition at the moment.
"I could have sent out Marc Bartra in Pique's place but there were a lot of minutes left in the game and Marc has not yet played this season," Vilanova said. "Song, however, was signed for this and he has a lot of experience. He brings the ball out very well from the back as he has played in midfield many times."
Speaking to reporters after again saving his team against Spartak, Messi said Pique's injury was a blow, but echoed his coach's views that a youngster could cover.
"Pique's injury is a pity," Messi said. "He is very important, just as Puyol is, but we have enough players in this team, even more with the kids from the cantera."
At 2-1 down to Spartak, Vilanova withdrew right-back Daniel Alves, leaving a three-man defence of Song, Mascherano and Adriano, and the Barca boss felt the risk paid off.
"We carried the weight of the game and attacking initiative throughout every moment of the game," Vilanova said. "We knew the speed of their forwards and their danger on the counter-attack. When we went behind on the scoreboard we changed our shape and that gave us more attacking options. We did that running a big risk behind."
Xavi insists the Barca squad is strong enough to cope. He told the club's official website: "All of the players that have picked up injuries are important. Puyol and Pique without a doubt are very important, but the team is big enough to cope with their absences.
"We're focusing on Saturday's match (against Granada). Before the Clasico there are two more league games and another Champions League fixture. It's clear that it would be good to get them (Puyol and Pique) back before the Clasico, but we have a good team.
"(Sergio) Busquets, (Alex) Song, who played a good game (against Spartak), (Javier) Mascherano .. all of them can play in the centre-back position.''