Lionel Messi Blames Team, Not Coach For Champions League Disgrace
FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi lead the Catalans to another La Liga trophy this season but this was marred by their disgraceful UEFA Champions League exit, which he compared with their loss against Roma in the previous season.
The five time Balon D’or winner, ones again watched his team get crushed out of the UEFA Champions League by Liverpool in the semi final after going into the game with a 3 nil advantage.
“I had a great first season as captain, apart from the Liverpool game,” Messi told reporters. “Regrettably, that game has tainted the season.
“I haven’t watched the game again, it was very similar to Roma where we went into the game and suddenly they scored. We reacted well, then they [Liverpool] scored the second goal and we didn’t compete, the worst thing is that we didn’t compete. We let them walk all over us.
“We were all thinking about being champions and we were all very disappointed, first for the elimination, second for the manner, third for the fact it happened again.
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“It was a very tough blow to take and it was tough to lift ourselves up, you could see that in the next few games.
“Now we have a final, a chance for a trophy, we have the chance to do a double and finish the year well, we have to win it like every final we play in.”
Lionel Messi also pleaded with the fans concerning the pressure on Ernesto Valverde, which greatly increasesd after the knockout defeat and has called on the Fans to blame the players instead of the coach for the loss.
“I truly think our coach did an extraordinary job all this time he’s been with us,” Messi added. “I think he was practically blameless for what happened with Liverpool.
“We are solely responsible for what happened during that game. We knew that we couldn’t repeat what had happened last season, and yet it happened again. We left a very sad impression and we played so badly.
“This is something that can happen once, but not twice and even less so consecutively. Missing the chance of playing a Champions League final, something we wished for so much – what happened was inexcusable.
“The coach may have his share of responsibility the same way everybody else, but I have no doubt that we, the players, are the main ones to be blamed.”