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Messi urges Barcelona not to change

Lionel Messi does not believe that Barcelona should change their way of playing just because they struggled in Europe this season.

Barcelona’s short ‘tiki-taka’ passing style had seen them dominate European competition in recent years but this season they were not at their fluent best.

They struggled against Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League.

And although they were able to turn around poor first-leg results against Milan and PSG, Bayern exposed them in the semi-final, inflicting a 7-0 aggregate defeat.

A hamstring injury meant Messi was not always available for the Catalans during that time and their football lost some of its urgency, but he does not think a couple of bad games should mean a change in philosophy at the club.

“We can’t lose our heads. We can’t change our style of play,” he told Television Azteca.

“You can’t always win, we’ve been playing our brand of football for years and managers and teams have studied it.

“We have to stay calm and focus on next year.”

The Argentina international also praised the work done by Tito Vilanova to regain La Liga title despite a tough campaign off the pitch and Messi admitted he had noticed a difference when the coach was away receiving treatment for cancer.

“Things went well with Tito, because he practically didn’t change anything,” he added.

“But we noticed a change when he left, not because Jordi Roura or the training staff who stayed on didn’t do a good job but because we were missing our head manager.

“It wasn’t the same. One year is a long time and it’s great that we can finish it by celebrating.”

Tue 21 May, 2013
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