Valverde: Messi feeling ‘perfect’

Lionel Messi has been called up for Barcelona’s trip to Sevilla – and Ernesto Valverde insists the Argentine is in a ‘perfect’ frame of mind.

Messi was part of the Argentina squad that were battered 6-1 by Spain midweek, although he did not play due to a hamstring injury, and while Valverde refused to confirm the No 10 would start at Sevilla, he was adamant his talisman had moved on from the thrashing.

“We’re taking care of him, like Argentina did,” the Coach said at a Press conference.

“He has a small knock, but it’s normal at this stage of the season. I’d like to have everyone at 100 percent, but someone else will pick up a small problem after Saturday’s game.

“His morale after Argentina’s 6-1 defeat to Spain? I see him in a good way. Everyone likes to win, make no mistake, but we’re all used to enduring criticism.

“I see him perfect in that sense. Certainly we have enough players to face this final stretch. Busquets? We hope he’ll be back on Wednesday, that’s the idea.

“We have to keep doing what we’ve done so far. We’re playing for everything, it’s the decisive stretch of the season.

“What we have to do is win. The feeling is a good one, even if a lot was taken out of us in our recent games.

“Now comes a very tough run of games and we need to change a little mentally, although that suits us.

“We won’t rotate much. It’s an important match for [Sevilla], although the Europeans matches are one-off games and divert your attention a bit.

“For us it’s a key game at a difficult stadium. It’s an attractive game and a win could be very important.

“Our toughest away trip? They play like a great team on home soil. Very few teams have managed to win here. It’s a match we’ve marked out for what it can mean.”

Barca squad for Sevilla: Ter Stegen, Cillessen; Semedo, Pique, Rakitic, Denis, Iniesta, Suarez, Messi, Dembele, Coutinho, Paulinho, Alcacer, Alba, Sergi Roberto, Gomes, Umtiti, Vermaelen, Vidal, Yerry Mina

Tags Ernesto Valverde