|Barcelona players celebrate a goal against AC Milan, on Tuesday
Barcelona: Jordi Roura, Barcelona’s assistant coach said that Lionel Messi had given a ‘lesson’ in how to play football during their 4-0 defeat of AC Milan in the Champions League.
Messi scored goals in the fifth and 40th minutes of the game to help his side overcome a 2-0 deficit following the first leg of the last 16 round.
Despite scoring three goals in his last five matches preceding the Milan clash, Messi came under fire after Barcelona were defeated in the first leg and slumped to consecutive losses against Real Madrid.
Roura defended his player against the criticism. He said: “People speculated that Messi was not in a good moment, they said I-don’t-know-what and I-don’t-know-why, this and that. But if anyone had any doubts about Leo, they only have to look at tonight,” Roura said.
“He gave another magisterial lesson in how to play football. He has shown once again that he is extraordinary and that on the big occasions, surrounded by great players, he can do amazing things.”
“Leo was simply amazing. He proved once again why he is the best player in thr world… It had been a long time since we had pulled off a historic comeback. We played an exceptional match,” Xavi Hernandez said.
About Barcelona, Roura said, “Some of the criticism of the team was over the top. It was exaggerated. We were not so bad before.
“Tonight, Milan struggled to get into the game, especially in the first 20 minutes, but I would not talk about things that Milan did wrong; I would talk about the attitude of Barcelona, about how they pressured and worked.
Roura suggested that manager Tito Vilanova, currently receiving treatment for cancer, will return to work in the near future:
“I have spoken to Tito and he is very, very happy at the result and the way we played,” Roura said.
“He watched the game with a huge amount of emotion and he is pleased because we are still alive in the Champions League and our position in La Liga is very good,” he added.
“He has only a few days of recuperation left and we hope he will be back with us soon. Personally I feel calm and happy. I have always said we are going through very special circumstances right now and I am just trying to do my job.”
Despite his side’s decisive win, Roura dismissed suggestions that Barcelona were favourites to win the competition. He said:
“What I can say is that when we get to the next round we will try to get through that one as well, just as we did here. But favourites? Not at all. It’s not like that. Tomorrow we will train, everyone will be happy, but this doesn’t change things. We have to keep working and try to win on Sunday, then the Sunday after that.”
David Villa and Jordi Alba added second-half goals to Messi’s tally during their defeat of AC Milan
“We went out gunning from the start, and scoring early helped us,” Villa said. “We have believed in the comeback ever since we lost in Milan, and belief combined with hard work is how you achieve things.”