Lionel Messi absence will mean Barcelona have a “better attitude in defence” – Dynamo Kiev boss

Dynamo Kiev boss Mircea Lucescu believe that Barcelona will be stronger defensively in their Champions League tie this week due to the absence of Lionel Messi.

Lucescu, 75, is one of the most decorated and longest-serving managers in European football, having built up a top-level coaching career spanning four decades.

Counting Inter, Galatasaray, Besiktas, Shakhtar Donestk and Zenit Saint Petersburg among his former clubs, the Romanian took the reins at Dynamo Kiev this year following a stint in charge of the Turkish national team.

Samuel Umtiti, Ronald Araujo and Gerard Pique are all out injured at the moment, leaving Clement Lenglet as the only natural centre-back in the travelling squad.

Sergio Busquets is also injured, so Miralem Pjanic will come in as part of the double-pivot and could be paired with Carles Alena or Riqui Puig.

Lucescu told his pre-match press conference, in quotes carried by Marca: “Barcelona is Barcelona. The presence of Messi of course gives them an advantage in terms of the technical and offensive measurements. But his absence will make them play with a better attitude in defence.

“Barcelona is one of the best teams in the world. Now they are not having their best time. The Messi case creates an atmosphere of nervousness in the club. New strategy, new connections between players, everything needs time.”

Frenkie de Jong has also been excluded for the encounter in Ukraine, suggesting that Ronald Koeman is giving two of his most important players a rest after their disappointing defeat at Atletico Madrid this past weekend.

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Tags Lionel Messi Mircea Lucescu