Barcelona captain, Lionel Messi, has berated his team for being “weak” and said it must quickly change course to have a chance at winning the Champions League.
Naija News reports that Messi made this statement after Barcelona slumped to a 2-1 loss to an Osasuna side that finished with 10 men with Real Madrid clinching the title by beating Villarreal 2-1. The defeat was Barca’s first home loss since 2018.
Speaking, Messi said: “This game represents the entire year. We have been an erratic and weak team,” Messi said in a rare TV interview just after the final whistle sounded at an empty Camp Nou.
“We are a weak team who can be beaten with enough intensity and enthusiasm.
“Madrid did its part by winning all its matches, which is impressive, but we also helped them to win this league.
“We have to be critical of how we have played, starting with the players, and the rest of the club.”
The former Spanish champions captained by Messi, led the league by two points over Madrid when the league was stopped in mid-March for three months while Spain’s reined in its coronavirus outbreak, however, Madrid returned to the competition motivated and in shape, reeling off 10 straight wins.
Barcelona, on the other hand, looked flat, drew three matches to lose the lead, and on Thursday hit a new low when it lost its first home match since November 2018 to 10 men Osasuna.
“The feeling on this team is that it tries, but that it cannot get the job done,” Messi said.
“Today in the first half they were better than we were and it seems we have to fall behind to react like we tried to do in the second half.”
The Argentine scored his league-leading 23rd goal from a free kick in the second half to cancel out José Arnaíz’s opener with Barcelona getting a man advantage when the visitors lost substitute Enric Gallego to a straight red card for bloodying the mouth of Clement Lenglet with an elbow to the face in the 77th.
However, Osasuna’s Roberto Torres scored in stoppage time with Barcelona pushing forward searching for a late goal.
Reacting, Messi said: “I said it some time ago, that playing like this we had no chance of winning the Champions League, and it turns out we didn’t even have enough to win La Liga,” Messi said.
“We need to take a breather, let some air in, and clean out minds of all that has happened since December.”
Meanwhile, Barcelona must regroup for the second leg of its Champions League round-of-16 match against Napoli on Aug. 8. The first leg finished 1-1 in Italy.
“Playing like this we will lose against Napoli,” Messi said.
“We have to start from zero in the Champions League and blame ourselves for what went wrong”.