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Barca boss Koeman calls on others to help Messi

Barca boss Koeman calls on others to help Messi

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Copa del Rey - Semi Final First Leg - Sevilla v FC Barcelona - Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Seville, Spain - February 10, 2021 Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman reacts REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo

MADRID: Ronald Koeman called on Barcelona's players to step up and reduce the club's reliance on Lionel Messi for goals ahead of Saturday's La Liga trip to Sevilla.

Messi, 33, has scored 18 times in the league this season with Antoine Griezmann the next highest scorer on six, and once again scored the opening two goals in Wednesday's league victory over Elche.

"The older lads can't do it all themselves. Messi's scored 18 times, which is the same number as the other forwards combined," Koeman told a news conference on Friday.

"He needs help. You can't always rely on the best or oldest players. Everyone in the team needs to take responsibility, not just the most experienced players."

Barca are fourth in La Liga, two points ahead of Sevilla, who have played a game fewer.

With league leaders Atletico five points ahead and with a game in hand, the Catalans can ill-afford to slip up in the title race.

"I don't think it's the most important week of the season. This weekend all the top sides play each other. Everyone's under pressure, there's no more pressure on Barcelona than there is with everyone else.

"If you're the Barcelona boss, there's pressure on you for every game," added Koeman, before his news conference was cut short due to a nosebleed.

Barcelona welcome back defender Ronald Araujo for the trip to Andalusia. However, they will be without Miralem Pjanic, Philippe Coutinho, Sergi Roberto and Ansu Fati for the tie.

(Reporting by Joseph Walker; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

Source: Reuters

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