According to Koeman, teams are showing more courage against Barcelona without Messi

Ronald Koeman

Ronald Koeman

Last week, Barcelona got off to a fantastic start in their first game without Messi, cruising to a 4-2 victory against Real Sociedad.After the Catalans were held 1-1 away to Athletic Bilbao in La Liga on Saturday, coach Ronald Koeman stated that opponents are being more aggressive against his team now that Lionel Messi is no longer available.Barca earned a point thanks to a late Memphis Depay strike that cancelled out Inigo Martinez's header, but Koeman confessed his team was still missing their all-time greatest scorer and former captain two weeks after he departed the club for Paris St Germain after 21 years.

“I don’t like to keep talking about the same thing but we’re talking about the best player in the world and opponents are always more scared when Messi is around,” Koeman told reporters.“It’s also the same for us, if you give a pass to Messi, he normally doesn’t lose the ball. You can feel that he is not here anymore. We all know it but we can’t change it.”Last week, Barca had gotten off to a fantastic start in their first game without Messi by cruising to a 4-2 victory over Real Sociedad, but they were dealt a harsh reality check against an athletic team who outpowered and outran them for the majority of the game.“I think we ran into too many difficulties at the start of the game.

They put us under a lot of pressure and did very well and we couldn’t play with any patience,” Koeman added.“But I have to highlight the attitude we showed after we went behind. I think the draw is fair because if you play like we did at a ground like this you’re always going to run into trouble. I have no complaints about the result.” Reuters

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