Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has insisted that he is not worried about the fitness of star forward Lionel Messi, and said that the problems they had in the draw against Athletic Club were collective.
Athletic were able to hold the Blaugrana to a goalless draw at the San Mames Stadium that restricted the visitors lead at the top of La Liga to six points rather than eight, with Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in pursuit.
Although Messi played the full 90 minutes despite a reported thigh injury, Valverde has claimed that he is not worried about the fitness of his star player and it was not the reason for their failure to secure all three points.
Valverde: “Messi is fine and he has played at 100%. He has had some difficulties, because we had them as a collective, but when he plays it is because is absolutely convinced everything is fine.” #fcblive
— FC Barcelona Fl (@FCBarcelonaFl) February 11, 2019
According to Goal, he said, “Messi is fine and he has played at 100 per cent. He has had some difficulties, because we had them as a collective, but when he plays it is because is absolutely convinced everything is fine.”
“It’s like everything else when you get a draw that you think that you should have won. It is a matter for the whole team and people always point to a player because he failed a pass or some situation. It is true that sometimes they can be more successful.”
It remains to be seen if Lionel Messi will play in their next game, considering their Champions League round of 16 tie against Lyon is next week. Ernesto Valverde would not want to take a risk with his best player if it means they might have a problem in the European competition.