Messi injury made Barcelona less ‘superior’ – Calleja

first_imgBarcelona were not as ‘superior’ to Villarreal after Lionel Messi went off, according to Yellow Submarine coach Javi Calleja.Messi, making his first start of the season after sustaining a calf injury, suffered adductor pain during the opening period of the clash at Camp Nou in La Liga on Tuesday. He returned to the pitch but was replaced by French winger Ousmane Dembele at half-time.The Argentina superstar had already set up Antoine Griezmann for the opening goal with a corner, while Arthur’s rocket from outside the box doubled Barca’s advantage after only 15 minutes. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Time for another transfer? Giroud’s Chelsea spell set to end like his Arsenal career Santi Cazorla reduced the arrears before half-time with a swerving effort that fooled Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but Ernesto Valverde’s team saw out a much-needed 2-1 win after their shock 2-0 loss at Granada on Saturday.”[Messi] played the first half. The team worked to ensure he was not decisive. When he’s on the pitch he makes a difference, although it’s true he had some discomfort,” Calleja said.”Without Messi they are not as superior, that is evident, but we know how to stop them. We were unable to do more damage or defend better at the beginning.”We are hurt by the defeat, but happy with our job.”6 – Lionel Messi has been substituted at the half time for the sixth time for @FCBarcelona in all competitions being last time in 2016 January vs Athletic Club at Camp Nou in #LaLiga (W3 D2 L1). Worry — OptaJose (@OptaJose) September 24, 2019 Ansu Fati replaced Luis Suarez with 12 minutes remaining and went close to sealing the three points before seeing an appeal for a penalty turned down following a VAR review.”I was amazed. He did everything right,” Calleja said of the 16-year-old attacker.”He has huge quality and he is not weighed down by the responsibility. For a football lover he is a joy to watch.”Fati has the ideal role model in Messi, who won The Best FIFA Men’s player for the first time at a ceremony in Milan on Monday.The 32-year-old had finished second to Cristiano Ronaldo twice in the award since it began in 2016 and didn’t figure it the top three for the 2018 edition.”It has been a long time without winning an individual prize,” Messi told reporters after clinching the honour.”It is an award that I have for the first time and it is good to have it.”last_img read more