Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has insisted that Lionel Messi’s absence through injury will not have any effect on his side’s style of play.
Messi damaged the internal collateral ligament in his left knee early on in Barca’s 2-1 La Liga win over Las Palmas on Saturday, and is expected to be out for up to two months.
Nevertheless, Luis Enrique is confident Barca can cope without their star man and has urged his other players to step up their game.
“The fact that Messi is injured does not mean we will change our style of play,” he said at his post-match press conference.
“It is always sad when a player gets injured. But we all know how much Messi means for this team.
“Messi decides a lot of games, but it is now up to the team to step it up a notch.
“Could he be back for the Clasico? We are not thinking about that yet. We are focusing on our next game against Bayer Leverkusen.”
Defender Marc Bartra, meanwhile, has acknowledged that Messi’s injury comes as a huge blow to the team.
“Messi’s injury is very sad for him and for the team. He is our best player,” the centre-back told reporters.
“But we have to get through this. The win over Las Palmas was a good start.”
Messi now faces a race against time to be fit for the Clasico against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on November 22.