Champions League: Lionel Messi absence no excuse for repeat of famous defeat, says Gerardo Martino

The Catalans boss insists his squad can play without 'the best player in the world' and admits there will be no excuse if they fail to come away from Celtic Park with the three points

Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino insists the absence of Lionel Messi from Tuesday's Champions League clash with Celtic at Parkhead should not be used as an excuse if his side come unstuck.

The 26-year-old Argentina forward injured his thigh in the 2-0 win over Almeria on Saturday, ruling him out of the Group H clash in Glasgow and for the next two to three weeks.

Midfielder Cesc Fabregas insisted that the Barca players will be put to the test by the absence of Messi but Martino, speaking through an interpreter, said: "Messi is the best player in the world but we have a great team and his absence cannot be an excuse if we don't get a good result tomorrow night.

"I am not sure it is a test for other players.

"We have had other games in the past without Messi and we also had to win those games.

"We have excellent players in our team so that cannot be any excuse."

At Barca's pre-match press conference at Celtic Park yesterday, most of the focus was on how the visitors will cope without their talismanic superstar.

Follow live coverage of Tuesday's Champions League action, including Arsenal v Napoli, Celtic v Barcelona and Steaua Bucharest v Chelsea

 

Fabregas believes the rest of the forward players will have to step up their efforts if the loss of Messi is not to prove costly.

The former Arsenal player said: "It is a test because we always want him in our team.

"Obviously Lionel is the best player in the world, I don't even have to say that and you obviously will miss a player of his talent and dedication.

"We rely on him a lot, he is the best player, the one that scores more goals, the one that does the offensives tasks, he is always there for us, he gives assists, he is the best

"He can win a game at any moment so we are sad for that but you cannot feel sorry for yourselves because you are missing a great player.

"Without Messi we will have to take more responsibility.

"I think we all have to step up and make sure that we don't feel his absence, and we can play great football without him.

"When he is not there we have to adapt the situation and players like Neymar, myself if I play, Alexis Sanchez, Cristian Tello, Pedro Rodriguez; we have to step up and do the job that a striker is made for which is scoring goals and giving assists.

"I think tomorrow is a test in that way."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links