Ernesto Valverde managed to convince Lionel Messi that appearing against Inter on Tuesday involved him taking unnecessary risks and that the meeting at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza was not make-or-break thanks to Barcelona‘s privileged situation in Group B.
The Argentine was won around to the argument that Sunday’s game against Real Betis in LaLiga Santander has more importance and it will be no surprise for the No.10 to feature.
Twenty-six shots, but only one goal
Barcelona‘s statistics without their star man have been positive but there are still some qualities lacking in his absence, notably their conversion of chances to goals.
Samir Handanovic was inspired at the San Siro though and Malcom‘s goal aside he was impossible to beat though, it must be said, with Messi on the pitch it’s hard to imagine they would have struggled quite as much to score with their chances.
Players fight for the cause
Those peripheral players have stepped up in Messi‘s absence, most surprisingly perhaps was Rafinha who score in the first game against Inter and, equally as shocking, Malcom netted in the second.
Solidarity and Suarez is still Suarez
If two things were confirmed in Messi‘s absence they were the team’s ability to step up when really needed and that Luis Suarez is still a phenomenal striker.
Collectively, the team played better than they had all season and Suarez delivered when he was most called upon, impressively scoring three against Real Madrid.
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