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Feb 24, 2021 at 6pm UK at Camp Nou
Messi (48', 69'), Alba (73')
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Ronald Koeman urges Barcelona players to step up alongside Lionel Messi

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman calls on his Blaugrana players to "make a difference" alongside Lionel Messi after the Argentine inspired Barca to victory over Elche.

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has affirmed that he was not talking about Lionel Messi when he urged his senior players to step up earlier this week.

Despite the never-ending speculation over his future, Messi continues to be the main man for Barcelona with 23 goals and eight assists in all competitions this term.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner bagged a second-half brace as Barca cruised to a 3-0 win over Elche on Wednesday evening, and Koeman has now demanded that his Blaugrana players "make a difference" alongside Messi.

Clarifying his earlier comments to reporters after the game, the Barcelona manager said: "When I spoke about the experienced players I was not talking about him.

"He keeps scoring lots of goals. It's the others that have to start making a difference, not Messi. He is already making a difference and he did it again in this game.

"Everyone could see that we lacked intensity in rhythm in the first half. It's a good thing that as the captain Messi demands more intensity."

Barcelona's victory on Wednesday sees them remain third in the La Liga table - five points worse off than leaders Atletico Madrid, who have a game in hand.

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Real Madrid's Ferland Mendy celebrates scoring against Atalanta BC in the Champions League on February 24, 2021
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1Atletico MadridAtletico30207352203267
2Real Madrid30206453242966
5Real Sociedad301211747311647
6Real Betis30145114043-347
10Celta Vigo30910114148-737
11Athletic Bilbao30910113933637
17Real Valladolid30512132741-1427

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