Barcelona ‘have enough resources’ to cope without Lionel Messi, insists Luis Enrique

Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has said his squad can cope without Lionel Messi for the next three weeks.
Barcelona manager Luis Enrique addresses the media ahead of Barcelona's Primera Liga match against Sporting Gijon. Alejandro Garcia / EPA
Barcelona manager Luis Enrique addresses the media ahead of Barcelona's Primera Liga match against Sporting Gijon. Alejandro Garcia / EPA

Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has said his squad can cope without Lionel Messi for the next three weeks, before adding the Argentine forward’s absence is “terrible” for football.

Messi will miss Barca’s trips to Sporting Gijon, Borussia Moenchengladbach in the Uefa Champions League and Celta Vigo in the next week due to a groin strain.

However, Enrique refused to become embroiled in a war of words with Argentina manager Edgardo Bauza, who criticised Barca’s treatment of the five-time World Player of the Year.

“That the best player in the world is injured is terrible for everyone, not just Barca fans but anyone who enjoys football,” Enrique said on Friday.

Messi will miss Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Paraguay at the start of next month.

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“They send us messages to look after Messi but they don’t protect him. He plays every match,” Bauza said after Messi suffered a recurrence of the injury that also kept him out of Argentina’s last qualifier against Venezuela earlier this month.

“I don’t want to get embroiled in the world of opinions that only aggravate the situation,” Enrique said.

“The reality is that we are all looking for what is best for Messi and all the players at our club.”

Barca coped well without Messi for two months at a similar stage last season, with Luis Suarez and Neymar coming to the fore in a run of eight wins in 10 games.

“Luckily last season when unfortunately Leo Messi missed two-and-a-half months I believe, the team responded brilliantly,” said Enrique, who is looking for a similar response.

“We continue to have a fantastic squad. I have always said that with Messi we are stronger because he is the best, but we also have more than enough resources to overcome our opponents and that is the objective we have.

“Hopefully Leo and the other players recover as soon as possible to prepare for the season ahead. We are all aware that to win titles we need a squad and to overcome moments like these.”

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Published: September 23, 2016 04:00 AM

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