‘It was really difficult to pick ourselves up’: Lionel Messi admits Barcelona’s Champions League semi-final defeat by Liverpool was a low point ahead of Copa del Rey final against Valencia
- La Liga champions Barcelona play Valencia in the Copa Del Rey final on Saturday
- Captain Lionel Messi could be set to claim his 35th trophy as a Barcelona player
- Messi called the defeat by Liverpool in Champions League semi-final a low point
Lionel Messi has described being knocked out of the Champions League by Liverpool as a stain on Barcelona’s season.
Speaking on the eve of his chance to pick up his 35th trophy at Barcelona in Saturday’s cup final against Valencia the captain did not hold back on opening about how the loss to Jurgen Klopp’s team took the air out of Barcelona’s season.
Messi said of the defeat at Anfield: ‘It was a very hard blow and it was really difficult to pick ourselves up.
Lionel Messi will lead his Barcelona side against Valencia in Copa Del Rey final on Saturday
Messi saw his side surrender three-goal lead against Liverpool in Champions League semi-final
The Argentinian admitted the shock defeat was a very low point during his side’s season
‘It showed in the next games but tomorrow is a final and we have the chance to win a double. We have the chance to end the season on a high.
‘We did the double last season and this season we can do the same but again with the stain of the Champions League. And this year the stain is bigger.’
Asked if it was a tough for him as losing the World Cup final with Argentina he said: ‘They are two different things. Against Liverpool we were 3-0 up from the first leg and they turned it around.
‘The World Cup final was a different thing it was also very hard to take.’
Barca’s Dutch stopper Jasper Cillessen trains ahead of the season-ending cup final
The first team were put through their paces at the Joan Gamper training base
Some in Barcelona have suggested that if coach Ernesto Valverde does not win the final he could be sacked but Messi added: ‘Valverde has done a great job. He has almost none of the blame for what happened against Liverpool.
‘We knew what happened the season before against Roma could happen again and it did. The coach takes part of the blame but the blame is not his.’
Asked about Valverde’s future after the final against Valencia Messi added: ‘I would like the coach to continue.’
Messi will be seeking to claim his 35th major trophy as a Barcelona player in his career
The Catalan giants secured their second consecutive La Liga title this season
Coach Ernesto Valverde received backing from his captain after a successful season
On the torment of losing to Liverpool Gerard Pique added: ‘Anfield was one of the worst experiences of my professional career.
‘We tried to play with the Barcelona style. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes not so much.
‘The other team also plays the game and sometimes we are comfortable and sometimes we are not.
‘There are moments like those at Anfield when it is not possible to have the ball. That is one of the reasons why we lost the game.’