Winning every other game especially at their Camp Nou ground was hitherto a forgone conclusion but Barcelona have been stuttering lately and that is not going down with the club’s captain and icon, Lionel Messi  

Messi insists his team need to improve defensively following Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Athletic Bilbao at Camp Nou.

The Argentine star was rested by boss Ernesto Valverde and started on the bench, before being summoned into the action in the 55th minute.

Predictably, he made an impact as his cross-shot was turned in by youngster Munir for a vital equaliser.

But, after three straight winless matches – following a draw last weekend against Girona and a midweek defeat to Leganes, Messi wants Blaugrana to improve at the back as poor defending allowed Oscar de Marcos to net an opener.

“There isn’t any anxiety because the season has just started and it is a long year ahead,” Messi, in a rare post-match interview, told beINSPORTS.

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 “We didn’t expect the recent results but in this game, we created situations to win and we couldn’t manage to do it.

“We must be stronger defensively, we have come from a year that it was tough [to score against us] and now it is taking the minimum to do it.

“It can’t happen that we concede goals in every game, we must improve and become strong in the defensive area because that is the most important thing.

“I think that we put in a performance that could have won us the game, and in the first half, had many clear chances to go ahead,” Messi added.

“But then we went 1-0 down and things got very complicated which is a shame.

“Now, we must carry on and look forward because we have a tough game coming up on Wednesday (away to Tottenham in the Champions League).

“It is a very difficult group so we know we have to be at our best and move forward with calmness.”

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