Carles Rexach has mused that Lionel Messi has previously ‘solved’ games for Barcelona like yesterday’s one at Athletic Bilbao.
The Catalans fell to a 1-0 defeat at San Mames to make it two defeats on the bounce after the midweek reverse at Ajax.
For their former Coach, Messi’s injury-inflicted absence is taking its toll, even if Tata Martino’s men were unfortunate also.
“The Ajax and Athletic defeats are two totally different games,” began Rexach to reporters today.
“Barca played in Amsterdam far worse than yesterday. Yesterday was the typical game that with a little luck you win and without it you can lose.
“Perhaps the draw would have been fair.
“And Messi? He is very important for any team. There have been similar games to that from yesterday that Messi has solved.
“Barcelona have shown on other occasions, though, that without Messi they can also play.
“Criticism that Messi has gone back to Argentina for his recovery now? These are just opinions and they are absurd, they are there to create controversy where it does not exist.”
Rexach reflected again on Barca’s recent blip in form.
“They must learn from what has not gone quite right. By the end of the season, we will have seen the three of them, Barca, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, all slip up at some stage, because there are others in the League and they also know how to play.
“You have to make sure not to trip up in those matches that you think you are going to win with ease. In the end it can be very costly.”