Lionel Messi has offered his thoughts on Barcelona’s 2020-21 season so far after enduring a tough start to the current campaign under new coach Ronald Koeman.
The Catalan giants have lost four of their first 13 matches in La Liga and were held to a disappointing 2-2 draw at home to Valencia on Saturday. Barca are already eight points off top spot and have played a game more than leaders Atletico Madrid.
Messi admits his team have not made a good start to the new campaign but has told Marca’s Luis Fernando Rojo that he thinks the team are improving and will give their all when it comes to trying to secure silverware.
We are going to try and win everything, as is always the case with this club. We are improving little-by-little. It’s true to say that it took us a little while to get going in LaLiga. We shouldn’t have dropped so many points.
I think we deserved more in the games against Alaves and Gefate, and also against Real Madrid at the Camp Nou. In those three games we created a lot of goalscoring chances, and if we had converted them, the situation in those games would have been different.
Now the important think is to have a streak of good results in a few games order to move up the table. This takes time and with the pandemic all the games are very difficult. The truth is football has changed a lot, and it’s difficult for everyone, but step-by-step things will settle.
Barca return to action on Tuesday away at Real Valladolid and will be hoping to get back to winning ways after dropping points again last time out. Yet Koeman’s side have been poor away from home and have won just one of five games on the road in La Liga in 2020-21.
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Messi Collects Pichichi
Messi’s comments came after he collected his seventh Pichichi award on Monday. The trophy is handed to the top scorer in La Liga every season, and the Barcelona captain once again finished top of the standings in 2019-20 with 25 goals from 33 games.
It’s the seventh time Messi has won the award, meaning he moves past Athletic Bilbao legend Telmo Zarra, and has now claimed the accolade more times than any other player in history.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 21, 2020
Messi also spoke of his pride at picking up the trophy once again but insisted he’s not thinking about winning it for an eighth time.
I never imagined that I would achieve so many Pichichi trophies and could surpass Zarra; it is a great joy.
I don’t know, I’m not really thinking about it. It’s not something that worries me. I would prefer to win LaLiga again, something which we didn’t do last season, rather than winning the Pichichi, so we will fight for that.
The Barcelona captain is currently two goals behind the current La Liga goalscorer in 2020-21. Villarreal’s Gerard Moreno tops the charts with eight goals, while Messi has so far netted six times in the current campaign.
Barcelona’s ‘Complicated’ Season
Messi will, however, pick up another record with his next goal in a Barcelona shirt. He tied Brazil legend Pele’s landmark for goals for a single club against Valencia with his 643rd strike for the Catalan giants. Another goal will see him own the record outright.
Yet Barcelona’s poor away form means the team are far from guaranteed victory at Real Valladolid on Tuesday. Koeman spoke about his team’s “complicated” season and why they have struggled in his pre-match press conference on Monday, as reported by Sport.
We’ve changed things and are changing things with the team. A lot of young players are playing and that brings inconsistency. For the future it’s good, but Barca have to win things, fight for titles and win games.
It’s a complicated situation. We need time because we’re making changes, but we’re Barca and we need to win games. That’s the complicated thing at the moment, more so for us than for other teams.
Barca will still be favorites to claim all three points and will know they can’t afford to drop more points if they are to challenge for the title. Real Valladolid have won just three times this season and are only three points off the bottom of the table.