Barcelona [Spain], August 22 (ANI): FC Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman on Saturday admitted that the Blaugrana club is less feared without Lionel Messi.
Barcelona manager stated that the rivals were "more scared" when the Argentine was leading the attack for their side. This statement by Koeman came after his side struggled against Athletic Club and managed to just retrieve a point in their second La Liga match of the season.
"I don't like to always talk about the same thing, but we're talking about the best in the world," the Dutchman told in his post-match press conference, as per Goal.com."Our opponents were more scared when Messi was here. For us as well, if you pass the ball to Leo, usually he won't lose it. You can tell [Messi] isn't there. We know that and we can't change it."
The six-times Ballon d'Or winner left the Catalan side as a free agent after the Spanish club announced that "financial and structural obstacles" meant the deal between them and Messi could not be completed.
San Mames is never an easy place to win as Barca have struggled there in recent seasons and the Saturday clash was no exception. Indeed, for much of the ninety minutes, they had their backs against the wall, and Athletic were good value for their 1-0 lead.
A flash of inspired brilliance was needed, and it came from the left foot of Memphis. The Dutchman was able to salvage a point from one of the most difficult road trips in La Liga, and in doing so celebrate his first official goal in an FC Barcelona jersey.
Next Sunday, Barca will be back at Camp Nou, where Getafe will be their visitors. (ANI)