After missing out on Barcelona’s last four matches due to injury, Andres Iniesta returned to competitive play in his side’s 5-1 Copa del Rey victory over Levante on Wednesday night.
The Spaniard played only the first-half, but admitted that this was planned before kick-off in order not to rush him back into action.
“I felt good, my impression is that things are going well,” said the midfielder.
“We had already agreed to the substitution (before kick-off).
“You always have to temper your return and that’s what we did. I feel just as I did before, it’s about adding to the team.”
Barcelona surprisingly had to chase an early lead by Levante, but took control over the game after Adriano levelled the score in the 28th minute and ended up with a convincing victory. The Spaniard confirmed afterwards the hardest part of the season is yet to come.
“The tie was heavily in our favour, but tonight’s match served to get ready for the game on Saturday,” Iniesta added.
“There will be difficult moments (and that’s why) we have to take advantage of the fact that we’re playing well.
“The hardest – and best – part of the season is yet to come.”
His manager, Gerardo Martino, confirmed that Iniesta’s 45-minutes-run was agreed upon before the game and was happy with the intensity his side showed last night.
“We spoke with Andrés and we agreed that he’d play for a little while. We wanted to give him minutes. We agreed that he’d play the first half,” Martino said.
“The first 15 minutes concern me, not just because of the goal, it seemed as though we weren’t intense enough. But the remaining 75 minutes we were intense.
“We have three matches between us and the title, if we get to the final we have to win it.”
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