Barcelona’s loss against Liverpool still stings Lionel Messi and co. Following their exit from the coveted tournament for two consecutive years, head coach Ernesto Valverde was subjected to immense criticism. Howvever, Messi has supported his coach by taking the onus upon himself. He said that the players are the ones to be blamed. Also Read - Lionel Messi Misses Out On FIFA 21 Team Of The Year's Starting XI For The First Time Ever; Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski Find a Place
“I think the coach has done an impressive job. I think in that elimination against Liverpool, he is practically blameless. We are the only ones to blame for that match,” Goal.com quoted Messi as saying. Also Read - Lionel Messi Receives Two Match Ban For His First-Ever Red Card in Barcelona Career
Barcelona clinched a 3-0 victory in the first-leg of semi-finals but in the second-leg, Liverpool came out strikingly and registered a 4-0 victory to secure their spot in the final. Also Read - Lionel Messi Transfer News Update: PSG Confirm Interest in Barcelona Skipper With Contract Ending Soon
In the Champions League 2017-18, Barcelona faced a quarterfinal exit after they were beaten by Roma. Therefore, this is the second consecutive time when Barcelona missed to reach in the Champions League final.
“It was unfortunate the match we played, the image we left behind. That happened two years in a row, that we missed out on the Champions League final. The truth is what happened cannot be allowed. We were playing a final. He will be as guilty as everyone else in the locker room but the ones who [are most guilty] are us,” he said.
Messi even went on to say that he wants Valverde to continue as Barcelona coach.
“I would like [Valverde] to continue,” Messi said. “You may like it or not, but as we play this year we can win another double. But this is a very big spot. In these two years, two games were lost. It is true that they tainted us but beyond that, the rest was good,” he said.
Despite Champions League elimination, Barcelona managed to vanquish Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semi-finals, claiming their spot in the final, where they will now face Valencia. Talking about the Copa del Rey final Messi said that if they face a defeat there, it will be ‘much worse’.
“Not winning this final would be much worse than we are now, we have to finish well and think about that,” he said.
Barcelona will face Valencia for Copa del Rey final on May 26.
(With ANI Inputs)