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Messi warns Barcelona not to depend on him

01 October, 2018, 00:46 | Author: John Swanson
  • A crest fallen Gerard Pique gifts Leganes the lead

Barcelona's run of poor form continued following a surprise 1-1 draw at home to Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

Messi came off the bench in the second half to set up a late equalizer by Munir El Haddadi, but he wasn't able to lead the defending champions to victory at Camp Nou Stadium. And after Philippe Coutinho hit the bar on 60 minutes, Messi's free kick was headed off the line as Bilbao battled bravely to keep their lead in tact.

"We have the squad and the players to be a great team and not depend on anyone, like it always used to be at Barca", Messi added.

Gerard Pique is one of the most decorated players in Spanish football history for both club and country, but everyone's due an off day, right? "These results have been a shame, but we have to stay calm because it's a long season".

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"Last year we hardly conceded goals but now teams are scoring against us with their first attempt".

Messi was given a rest by coach Ernesto Valverde, seemingly with one eye on Wednesday evening's (Thursday morning AEST) UEFA Champions League trip to Tottenham Hotspur, but it backfired.

It was the eighth goal conceded by Barcelona this season - they reached the halfway point of last season having only conceded nine goals. "I knew it was a risky decision".

"If we won 2-1 the question wouldn't even exist".

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Leganes goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar pulled off a stunning double save to thwart Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic from close range in the closing minutes while Sergi Roberto skied a good opportunity as the unfancied hosts held on to record their first top-flight win over Barcelona.

Leganes, however, will draw positives from the match as they will hoping to get out of the bottom three on the La Liga table.

Leganes had never earned a point against Barcelona in its three seasons in the first division. "We didn't expect them". We're aware we have to be stronger in defence.

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