Lionel Messi put in a match-winning performance to rescue victory from the jaws of defeat against Spartak Moscow, but can still get better, Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova insisted.
Messi scored twice in the last 20 minutes as Barcelona came back from 2-1 down to beat their Russian visitors at the Nou Camp on Wednesday.
“Messi will be even better as the season goes on and he gathers rhythm and sharpness, but I’m very pleased with his performance tonight, given that he won us the game,” Vilanova said.
Despite Gerard Pique going off injured after 12 minutes and deepening a defensive injury crisis ahead of Oct 7 match against Real Madrid, Vilanova said he remained calm.
“I’m not preoccupied with Pique’s injury, nor whether he’ll be ready for the Clasico, because even if I have to take players from the youth sides, I will,” he said.
Pique appeared to sustain an ankle injury while shooting. For the remainder of the game, defensive midfielders Javier Mascherano and Alex Song played as a makeshift center-back pairing.
Captain Carles Puyol, also a center-back, is out with a knee ligament strain sustained earlier this week.
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