- Lionel Messi says FC Barcelona’s defence is to blame for the club’s shoddy recent form.
- Barcelona is currently top of the Spanish La Liga soccer table, but has failed to post one win in its last three matches and has conceded more goals than it has scored.
- Messi even said it is taking the “minimum” to score against the team.
- The criticism firmly points the finger at players like goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen and defenders Gerard Piqué and Clément Lenglet.
FC Barcelona has failed to win in each of its last three matches in all competitions, and Lionel Messi has blamed the defence.
Barcelona currently sits atop the Spanish La Liga soccer table having banked 14 points from the opening seven fixtures, the same points haul as rivals Real Madrid CF.
But that has not stopped Messi from criticising players like goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen and defenders Gerard Piqué and Clément Lenglet for the club’s recent run of form.
The poor form began when Barça drew 2-2 against Girona on September 23 before posting a 2-1 loss at Leganes three days later. Most recently, the club drew 1-1 against Athletic Bilbao.
The team has conceded more goals than it has scored in that winless run and Messi believes defensive issues are at fault.
“We didn’t expect the recent results,” Messi told beIN Sports cameras. Against Bilbao, the team “created situations to win” and “couldn’t manage” to secure the victory.
Data from statistics website Whoscored.com supports Messi’s argument. Barcelona attempted 20 shots on goal, but only scored once. Bilbao, meanwhile, scored one goal from eight shots attempted. Barcelona also had a greater share of the football with a 70% to 30% possession split.
“We must be stronger defensively,” Messi said, noting that last season “it was tough” to score against Barcelona. “Now it is taking the minimum to do it.
“It can’t happen that we concede goals in every game, we must improve and become strong in the defensive area because that is the most important thing.”
Messi called for calmness in the fixtures ahead as Barcelona take on Tottenham Hotspur in a crucial UEFA Champions League match on Wednesday, before a trip to Valencia CF on Sunday.
“We must carry on and look forward because we have a tough game coming up on Wednesday,” he said. “We know we have to be at our best and move forward with calmness.”