Ronald Koeman has praised Barcelona legend Lionel Messi after his heroics against Athletic.
“We’ve known, for quite some time, that he’s the best in the world,” the former Netherlands coach told Movistar Plus.
“He’s done a lot for the club. He’s decisive during games. You have to respect everything he’s done. He’s a great player, he gives us creativity in attack. Without Leo, you can’t aspire to much.”
Koeman added, according to Marca: “He hasn’t been more motivated today [because of the reports]. What’s happened has been for bad intentions, to cause harm.
“We have to be united and focused. Things that are published have to be put to the side, but it’s tough.”
Last night’s win over Athletic Bilbao took Barcelona to second spot but they are still potentially 13 points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid.
“The team is improving,” Koeman added. “There’s concentration, mentality. I’m not saying we didn’t have that before, but we’re growing in confidence.
“It’s important to be second. We want to be as high as possible. The gap to the leaders is big but we have to keep going.”
Griezmann who scored the winning goal, told Movistar Plus: “Sometimes you play and sometimes you don’t but in the end we are all part of this and we need everyone. Ousmane is playing very well, he is taking good care of himself and we try to ensure that he is in the best condition.”