Messi: Barca can end losing run

A look ahead to this weekend's action in the Spanish Primera Division as Barcelona look to bounce back.

Last Updated: 07/03/13 at 17:45 Post Comment    Bet with SkyBet  Spanish La Liga. Click here to bet.

Lionel Messi: 'We'll try to get over this situation'

Lionel Messi: 'We'll try to get over this situation'

A look ahead to this weekend's action in the Spanish Primera Division.

Lionel Messi is backing Barcelona to brush aside a dip in form and extend their lead at the top of the Primera Division standings when they take on Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.

Barcelona have suffered a blip of late with a 2-0 defeat by AC Milan in their Champions League last-16 first leg tie and back-to-back El Clasico losses against rivals Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semi-final reverse and also in the league.

However, Messi believes the root of the problem has been pinpointed and Barca will be looking to put that into action this weekend against rock-bottom Deportivo ahead of their crunch European clash against Milan at the Nou Camp next Tuesday.

"We obviously need to give a little bit more. We have been losing recently but we know what we have to do to change things," Messi told the club's official website.

"Losing hurts. We'll try to get over this situation. There's a very important match (against Milan) on the way.

"We know what the problems were in the games we lost. We talk about these things in the dressing room, and that's where they'll stay."

Messi also admitted the illnesses faced by coach Tito Vilanova and Eric Abidal have affected the squad. Vilanova has undergone treatment for throat cancer while defender Abidal has been recovering from a liver transplant.

"It affected us a lot and I think it has had its toll on the way we've performed in competitions," Messi said.

"But we're a tough squad and we can't go using that as an excuse. Every time a new year starts, my target is to win everything. That's my motivation. To win it all again.

"I belong to a squad in which everyone wants the same thing."

Barca will be without goalkeeper Victor Valdes for the meeting with Deportivo after he was banned for four games for insulting the referee following the 2-1 La Liga defeat at Real Madrid.

Valdes was shown a straight red card after confronting the referee at the final whistle when Barca were not awarded a late penalty for Sergio Ramos' challenge on Adriano Correia.

Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid were given a boost this week ahead of their match against Real Sociedad when coach Diego Simeone agreed a new four-year deal with the club.

The news comes after speculation has linked the former Argentina international with a high-profile summer move after his successes at Atletico, which include winning the Europa League and the UEFA Super Cup in the first six months of his tenure

The Rojiblancos are currently second in the Primera Division standings, 11 points behind Barca but two ahead of Madrid rivals Real.

Atletico left-back Filipe Luis hailed Simeone's new contract.

He told Marca: "The coach not only tells us how we have to play, but also how we should feel at the club. Football is a state of encouragement and Simeone has won me over."

Real Betis play Osasuna tomorrow night while Saturday sees Rayo Vallecano face Espanyol, Real Valladolid are at home to Malaga and Sevilla will be looking to build on their comprehensive win over Celta Vigo at Real Mallorca.

On Sunday, Athletic Bilbao take on Valencia in the early kick-off before Levante host Getafe and Celta Vigo are at home to Real Madrid, while Real Zaragoza host Granada on Monday.


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