Messi says Valverde is not to blame for Barcelona's loss at Liverpool

The Barça captain said the performance at Anfield was "lamentable" but not the coach's fault

Messi, junto a Gerard Piqué, en la previa de la final de la Copa del Rey
Messi, junto a Gerard Piqué, en la previa de la final de la Copa del Rey | EFE

Lionel Messi appeared in a press conference on Friday ahead of the Copa del Rey final against Valencia, although the loss to Liverpool was still the hot topic. 

Jordi Gil

@jordigil

Messi, who had not spoken publicly since the shock defeat at Anfield, admitted that it was one of the toughest nights of his career. 

"It was a huge blow for me and all the dressing room," he said. "It was tough to get back up. I think you saw that in the next game we had to play. But now we have a final, a trophy to play for and the possiblity to win the double. We have to end the year well. We have to win, like all finals we play, we want the trophy." 

On coach Ernestop Valverde, Messi offered his support: ""I haven't seen much of the criticism of the manger but I honestly think he has done an impressive job since he's been here. He was hardly to blame for anything against Liverpool. We, as the players, are to blame. We couldn't let what happened the year before against Roma happen.

"The image of the team was lamentable, it's left a huge stain [on the season]. It can happen once [against Roma last year] but it should never happen in back-to-back years, not when you have the chance to be in a European final. The mister has some of the blame, but the bigger part is with us." 

Valverde support

The defence of Valverde contiunued. "I would like the coach to continue," he added when asked if he wanted a managerial change this summer. "You can like him or not, but last year we won the double. Now we are fighting for another double. If you think about it, we've lost two games in these two years. The problem is how we lost them. The rest of the year was good." 

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