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Koeman: Barcelona are a better team with Messi than without him

Ronald Koeman arrived at Barcelona in a tricky period for the club as Lionel Messi asked the board to be released following the 8-2 humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich. However, the Argentine ended up staying at the Camp Nou and his coach believes that the Blaugrana are better off with him on the pitch.

The Dutchman is certain that Messi's performance will improve as the season goes on and wanted to reassure fans that the team's captain is fully committed to Barcelona.

"Messi has shown me to be a person who wants to win things, be the best, and continue to be the best, even though he has had his problems with the club," Koeman told L'Esportiu and Sport. "Barcelona have been, are and will be a better team with Messi than without Messi.

"When I arrived, they told me that Messi was unhappy. We spoke at his house. He explained his reasons to me and I was honest.

"I told him that the only thing I can change is football. The system, his position on the field, his importance in the team. But the problems that he had had with the club I couldn't change.

"From the first day I have said the same thing. He is the best and is committed to the club. He has had his issues, his problems this summer, but since he returned to training he has been very good.

"He has had bad luck in some games and he has not been able to offer the usual performance, but I am sure that at the end of the season he will have scored the usual goals."

Barcelona top their Champions League group but are struggling in LaLiga Santander in this first stretch of the season. Koeman has stressed that refereeing decisions have played their role in some games where the team have dropped points.

"We have been able to change the image of the team, we have made changes that have given another air to the group," Koeman added. "People are very involved, very committed. We have increased the intensity of the training sessions and we have played good games.

"It is true that we have lost many points in the league, in games that we could have achieved a better result. Refereeing decisions have influenced the final result in some games.

"We know we have to improve things and we are working towards that. Now we have a break, but we are already preparing a very demanding schedule for when the competition returns. "

Ansu Fati has undergone surgery and will be sidelined for the next four months. However, Koeman has revealed that Barcelona are not planning to sign any player to cover for him in January.

"We don't have to sign [any player] for this injury," Koeman noted. "We had already spoken with [Barcelona technical secretary] Ramon Planes and everyone already knew which positions had to be strengthened.

"We were looking for a forward and a centre-back and everything remains the same."

Source: Marca

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