Messi talks about Barcelona’s poor start this season and the ultimate struggles
“All the great teams in Europe are having a hard time at the start of the season. It’s no criticism but with preseason trips you do not train well. It’s understandable that the club should do so, it’s necessary.
“Pique? It’s important to talk about the victory and think about Sevilla now. It’s important to win to avoid such talks.”
fAter the hard-fought 2-1 Villarreal win last week, the Catalan defender told RAC1: “The pre-season did not help at all to start well in the competition, a lot of travel and little training.”
During Barca’s lengthy pre-season this summer, the team travelled to Japan and the United States. Besides, they had two fixtures against just the same opponent, Napoli, after just a three-day break.
Yesterday’s game for instance, At times, Barca’s deficiencies were brutally exposed by Antonio Conte’s Inter machine – which is well oiled already, despite the coach only arriving a short while ago.
By contrast, Blaugrana boss Ernesto Valverde – who is into his third season in the job – don’t seem to have much of a plan beyond ‘Give the ball to Messi’.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, back after his second injury of the season, completed 90 minutes but looked understandably uncalibrated for much of the game.
And yet, the plan, such as it is, ultimately worked. Though only just.
It was a simply undefendable piece of skill from the man recently crowned the best player in the world by FIFA.
He and Suarez can’t keep doing this, though. They can’t keep getting Barca out of jail.
Eventually, Valverde is going to have to address the reasons why they keep finding themselves in these tight spots.