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Barca not a one-man team, says Messi

Lionel Messi came on early in the second half to help Barcelona salvage a draw at home to Athletic Bilbao on Saturday © AFP / Pau Barrena

BARCELONA, Spain, Sep 29Lionel Messi says Barcelona are “angry” after their draw at home to Athletic Bilbao on Saturday but insists they do not depend on him to win.

Barca were held 1-1 by Bilbao at the Camp Nou to make it three games without a victory, with Messi left out of the starting line-up and brought on early in the second half.

It was his shot that Munir El Haddadi turned in for a late equaliser but Oscar de Marcos’ close-range finish before the interval was enough to secure Bilbao a point.

The result means Barcelona head to Wembley to face Tottenham on Wednesday on the back of a difficult week, which also saw them draw at home against Girona and lose to Leganes.

“Anxious? No, the season is very long, we feel angry after the last two results,” Messi told beIN Sports.

“Today I think we created situations to win and we couldn’t do it and we are aware that we have to become stronger defensively and that we cannot score goals in every match.”

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde accepted after the game that leaving Messi out with Spurs in mind had been a risk that had failed to pay off.

It also left the team open to accusations again of an over-reliance on Messi.

“We have a strong team and we don’t depend on any one player,” Messi said.

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“This is Barcelona, ​​we have enough players not to have to depend on a player. What is said, it hurts after these results but we have to be calm and be aware that this is a very long season.”

Barcelona take on Spurs, having made the perfect start in the Champions League by beating PSV Eindhoven 4-0. Messi scored a hat-trick.

“On Wednesday we’re going to have a tough match and we need to be focused on qualification already because it is a very complicated group,” Messi added.

“We are aware that we have to improve many things, but we need to stay calm, it’s a very long season.”

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