Sevilla midfielder Michael Krohn-Dehli is expecting to face a motivated Lionel Messi in Tuesday’s UEFA Super Cup.
Europa League holders Sevilla take on Champions League winners Barcelona in the curtain-raiser to the European season in Tbilisi with the Catalans aiming to win the first of six possible titles in 2015/16.
Key to that ambition will be the form of Messi, who comes into the Sevilla clash still smarting from the criticism he received following Argentina’s failure to win the Copa America last month.
Messi’s desire to play for his country was questioned after Argentina’s final defeat to hosts Chile, with some pundits even calling for him to be dropped from the next squad.
Krohn-Dehli has no doubts about Messi’s quality and is expecting a backlash at the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena.
The 32-year-old told Spanish newspaper AS: “Messi doesn’t need any additional motivation and I imagine he’s annoyed about what’s been said about him in Argentina after the recent Copa América.
“As he’s the best player, he doesn’t need any time to find his form again and this is what we’ll be up against.”
Tuesday’s game will give Krohn-Dehli the chance to line up against Luis Enrique, who converted the Denmark international into a central midfielder when the pair worked together at Celta Vigo.
He added: “I played well under him at Celta. He is a great coach and it was great to work with him. I can only find good things to say about him during his year at Celta, a great coach and a great person.
“”t was his decision to play me in the centre of midfield and that’s one of the reasons why Sevilla signed me. If he hadn’t made that decision, I may not be here at my new club today.”
Unai Emery led Sevilla to Europa League success last season but Krohn-Delhi insists there are distinct differences between the way his current coach works and the approach adopted by Luis Enrique.
“They are very different,” said Krohn-Delhi.
“Their style of training and playing is different but they both work very hard. Luis Enrique works on pressing in a different way. It’s also true that the way Luis Enrique works at Barcelona is different to the way he worked at Celta. It is logical that he has had to adapt.”