Lionel Messi: Koeman defends Argentine after being labelled 'lazy' in Barcelona's win over Kyiv

Lionel Messi: Koeman defends Argentine after being labelled 'lazy' in Barcelona's win over Kyiv

- Lionel Messi was accused of being lazy during Barcelona's win over Dynamo Kyiv

- The 33-year-old was seen walking when his side was under attack towards the end of the game

- Ronald Koeman has diverted the blame to himself, saying that was due to his tactics

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Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has jumped to Lionel Messi's defence after the Argentine was labelled 'lazy' during their 2-1 victory over Dynamo Kyiv.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner handed the Catalans the lead just five minutes into the game from the spot before Gerard Pique sealed the win for the La Liga outfit.

Messi was spotted walking instead of pressing towards the final moments of their Champions League win against the Ukrainian side.

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And some have already concluded that the 33-year-old is not working hard enough due to his desire to leave them next summer.

The Dutchman has however shouldered any blame saying the lack of effort would be down to his methods rather than the player's laziness. He told the media during his match conference on Friday, November 6.

"I didn't see him [walking] and I'm not interested in this because I don't see him walking. If you want to start a controversy around this point, it's your problem.

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"Messi is mentally good, enjoying this sport. He's a winner and sometimes you go through moments when the ball doesn't go in, but he looks really focused on that subject.
"I think Messi still has so many qualities. He's very important in our game. He scored the penalty and we're used to him making the difference here, and he's still a very decisive player.
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"You said [the footage was from] the 93rd minute - there are pictures of anyone, of me when I'm sitting down, or annoyed. It seems we should be more aware of our image than our work. I don't agree with that.
"I think these players, like those of my era, have the same effort as us. They work in training, they want to win and it annoys them when they don't win. If it were not like this, it'd be because my work isn't working."
Lionel Messi: Koeman defends Argentine after being labelled 'lazy' in Barcelona's win over Kyiv

Lionel Messi and his former boss Pep Guardiola when Barcelona clashed against Bayern Munich. Photo by A. Beier.
Source: Getty Images

Barcelona are currently 12th in La Liga having gone winless in their past four league games while Messi has scored just four times in nine outings.

Legit.ng earlier reported that Ex-Manchester City striker Emile Mpenza believes Pep Guardiola should focus on adding depths to his defence instead of a reunion with Lionel Messi.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner has been heavily linked with a move to the Etihad City after his relationship with Barcelona board fell off along the way.

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Though Josep Bartomeu already stepped down along with his executives over the numerous allegations levied against him, it is unclear if Messi would extend his stay at Camp Nou.

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