Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has urged his side to defensively improve after their 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao yesterday. Messi was on the bench for the match at Camp Nou and Gerard Pique donned the captain’s armband in his absence. Bilbao opened the scoring in the 41st minute thanks to right-back Oscar de Marcos.
Messi came off the bench in the 55th minute, replacing Arturo Vidal. He hit the woodwork as Barca were desperate to find an equaliser. Messi eventually delivered the cross from which Munir El Haddadi equalised for Barcelona in the 84th minute.
Luckily for Barca, Real Madrid drew 0-0 in the Madrid derby against Atletico Madrid which means that Barcelona remain at the top of the table. However, Barcelona’s draw has come after a 2-2 draw against Girona and a 2-1 defeat against Leganes. The Blaugrana haven’t been able to win a single match since their Champions League opener against PSV.
Following the match, Messi said, “We are not anxious because the season is long and has only just started, but we are angry about the last results. We didn’t expect them. Against Leganes we played well in the first half and lost, and today we created chances to win but couldn’t.”
In 7 La Liga games so far, Barcelona have completed 8 goals. It took them 19 La Liga matches last season to concede that many goals. Messi admitted that his team needs to improve in the defensive department.
The Argentina star said,”We are aware that we have to be much stronger defensively. Last year we hardly conceded goals but now teams are scoring against us with their first attempt. We cannot afford to concede goals in every game. We have to improve and become stronger in defence, which is the most important thing.”
Barcelona next play Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League at Wembley on Wednesday. Their next La Liga fixture is against Valencia next Sunday.