Lionel Messi believes Barcelona are ‘better organised defensively’ since Neymar left this summer to join Paris Saint-Germain.
The Catalan giants have conceded only six goals in their 19 matches in all competitions under new Coach Ernesto Valverde, who made Athletic Bilbao a defensively solid outfit.
“We have changed our playing style since Neymar left,” Messi told German magazine Kicker, as qoted by ESPN.
“It is true that we have lost options in our attack but we are better organised defensively and our midfield is playing more calmly and we are better balanced. It has made us stronger defensively."
The 30-year-old insisted Real Madrid could not be discounted from major trophies this season and believes Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City are also strong contenders.
“[Man] City have been one of the strongest teams so far this season together with PSG,” Messi continued.
“But the season is still young; I would never discount Real Madrid because of their class and experience, even though they aren't picking up the expected results at the moment.
“Nor Bayern Munich – Bayern are the other big team that will be ready come the end of the season.
“Madrid’s form is only temporary, it's not the first time we see a club like Real in such a situation.
“In the end, though, because of their squad and players, they'll be fighting for every title again. Because it's always this way."