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Let’s miss Messi while we’re winning –Valverde

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Ernesto Valverde has challenged Barcelona to miss the injured Lionel Messi while they are winning without him .
Barca face Inter Milan on Wednesday without their star striker, who is expected to be out for three weeks after fracturing his arm against Sevilla on Saturday .

Messi ’ s absence comes at a bad time , given his team face Inter in the Champions League before the first ‘ Clasico ’ of the season against Real Madrid on Sunday .

“ It is clear it will affect us a lot , ” Barcelona coach Valverde said on Tuesday . “ But at the same time it is a chance to prove ourselves without him .
“ We have important matches and a lot of motivation going into them . It is a period for us without Messi and we want to miss him while we ´ re winning. ”

Barca have been accused of ‘ Messidependencia ’ , an over – reliance on the Argentinian, who inspired them to a 4 -2 victory over Tottenham in their last Champions League outing . Barcelona sit level with Inter on six points in Group B .

“ I don´ t really give any thought to ‘ Messidepenencia ’ , ” Valverde said . “ If Messi plays , it is obvious he will influence the style of the team . We depend on Messi , like we do other players , but Messi is the best .

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“ He is the best we ’ ve seen and now among all of us we have to make his absence less noticeable because we don’ t have his genius . ”

With Messi out , Valverde could bring in Ousmane Dembele at the Camp Nou , the 21 -year – old who enjoyed a bright start to the season but has lost his place in recent weeks .

Dembele joined Barcelona from Borussia Dortmund for 105 million euros last year but his first campaign was blighted by injury while doubts remain about the Frenchman’ s habit for losing possession .

“ Anyone can lose the ball , the problem is the reaction you have afterwards , ” Valverde said .

Barcelona appear to have turned a corner , however , after backing up their sensational win over Spurs with a draw away at Valencia and victory at home to Sevilla .

A positive result against Inter would set them up nicely for Sunday ’ s clash against Madrid , whose poor form has put the future of coach Julen Lopetegui in doubt .

“ I have a great relationship with him , ” said Jordi Alba , Barca ’ s left – back , who played under Lopetegui for Spain .

“ He showed a lot of faith in me and I have a lot of respect for him . I wish him well and hope he continues longer because he deserves it . ”

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Luis Suarez could sit out the game against Inter . Suarez missed training on Tuesday due to personal reasons .

( AFP )

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