Quique Setien says Lionel Messi was right to send out a warning to his Barcelona team-mates ahead of their Champions League last-16 tie with Napoli and did not feel attacked by his superstar forward.

Barca were beaten 2-1 at home by Osasuna on Thursday as the defence of their title in LaLiga officially came to an end, albeit Real Madrid's victory over Villarreal by the same scoreline rendered their result meaningless.

After the game an emotional Messi issued a rallying cry, with an eye on the second leg against Napoli to conclude a tie delicately poised at 1-1.

"We need to change a lot, otherwise we will also lose against Napoli," he told Movistar. 

"I already said before that playing like this we won't be able to fight for the Champions League and you see, we could not even fight for the league. We need to be self-critical."

Setien understands Messi's message but insisted it is not all doom and gloom at Barca.

"It is true that if we play as badly as in the last matches, obviously it is not going to give us what we need to win the match," head coach Setien said ahead of Barca's final LaLiga contest against Deportivo Alaves on Sunday.

"But we have also had great moments and if we play like this it can give us what we need to win it. We are all aware that there are many things to improve, we must be more consistent and more reliable. 

"This is the reality. If we manage to play a match like [the 4-1 win at] Villarreal, where everything went well, it surely gives us what we need to win the Champions League. 

"We must be more reliable during the 90 minutes and convince ourselves that if we give our best level, of course we can win the Champions League. "

When questioned if he felt Messi's words were a slight on him, Setien added: "No, not at all. 

"We all say things that are misinterpreted and others well, it is lived daily. I do not give it more importance. We all need a break, clean our minds. We will try to think in this sense."

Setien was only hired by Barca in January but reportedly finds his position under threat at Camp Nou.

However, he has little intention of walking away.

"The day I arrived I said that I would enjoy until the last day. I continue to enjoy despite the circumstances and I never thought that this would be easy," he said. 

"Defeat is always an option to overcome. I am not living nothing that I have not lived before. At no time have I had the feeling of wanting to leave."

Speculation his position is under threat grew after Setien met with president Josep Maria Bartomeu this week.

But Setien says the meeting was just par for the course.

"It's normal that there are meetings with the president," he added. 

"The meeting consisted of preparing for the future. The concern we all have for improving is evident and we are trying to find solutions."

Luis Suarez has shown Barcelona how they can put their LaLiga disappointment behind them and end the season on a high in the Champions League, according to Bojan.

Barca's title defence faltered following LaLiga's resumption from a three-month suspension amid the coronavirus pandemic, with Real Madrid winning 10 straight games and securing top spot with a 2-1 victory over Villarreal on Thursday.

That result coincided with Quique Setien's side going down 2-1 at home to 10-man Osasuna, a match that saw the experienced trio of Suarez, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba start on the bench.

Suarez acknowledged prior to the fixture that Barca's title hopes were effectively over, while Lionel Messi said following the defeat things must change or they will not win their Champions League last-16 second leg against Napoli on August 8.

Former Barca attacker Bojan believes Suarez's comments were motivational rather than defeatist, ensuring the Blaugrana keep their focus and aim to reach next month's mini-tournament in Lisbon.

"I can only applaud the message that Luis Suarez has repeated in all the interviews he granted in recent days," Bojan wrote for Catalan publication SPORT.

"That a reference like him, a striker who has just surpassed [Laszlo] Kubala in goals [for Barcelona], avoids looking for excuses and, above all, points to the dressing room itself as the biggest factor in what happened this season seems to me not only admirable, but also an exercise in humility. Not referees, not VAR, not anything like that.

"Honestly, I am comforted by hearing his words because only from analysing what you have done wrong yourself can you change and improve. And not only that, it shows the dressing room suffers, it suffers with each defeat, with each title that evaporates.

"In addition, Suarez, obviously, is laying the groundwork for the team to react, step forward, avoid feeling free from all guilt and end the season by winning the Champions League.

"Luis, in fact, does nothing but encourage his team-mates to believe. He is pointing towards Lisbon, where the Champions League is played in August."

Bojan said it would be "essential" to address this season's shortcomings in the future, but that for now the best route would be to follow Suarez's lead.

Setien admitted after the Osasuna loss he was unsure if he would still be in charge for the Champions League campaign.

Having been on the receiving of surprise comebacks from Roma and Liverpool over the past two seasons, Bojan believes the fact the final rounds of the competition will not be conducted over two legs boosts Barca's chances.

"If they reach the quarter-finals, they will arrive in Lisbon to play a tournament without two-legged ties in which, in recent seasons, Barca have suffered too much mentally," he wrote.

"Nor should physique be a key factor. Three games at 90 minutes. And with the talent to dream."

Lionel Messi says Barcelona "need to change a lot" if they are to avoid being knocked out of the Champions League by Napoli after relinquishing their LaLiga title.

Barca fell to a shock 2-1 loss to Osasuna in Thursday's clash at Camp Nou when only a win would do to prevent Real Madrid from sealing top spot for the first time in three years.

The defeat ultimately did not matter in the grand scheme of things as Karim Benzema's double earned Madrid a 2-1 win over Villarreal.

Barca exited the Copa del Rey at the quarter-final stage in February and all focus is now on next month's Champions League last-16 second leg with Napoli.

The rearranged tie will either be played on neutral soil in Portugal or at Camp Nou and is finely poised at 1-1 after Antoine Griezmann cancelled out Dries Mertens' opener in the first leg five months ago.

And Messi, who was on target in the defeat to Osasuna, fears Barca will exit the competition at the first knockout stage hurdle unless his team-mates show more fighting spirit.

"People are losing patience after defeats to Roma and Liverpool in recent years," he told Movistar. 

"We need a break and forget about this if we want to fight for the Champions League. We need to change a lot, otherwise we will also lose against Napoli. 

"I already said before that playing like this we won't be able to fight for the Champions League and you see, we could not even fight for the league. We need to be self-critical."

Lionel Messi conceded Real Madrid have been worthy LaLiga champions this season, after Barcelona relinquished their crown with a whimper.

Barca needed to avoid dropping points against Osasuna on Thursday to stand any chance of keeping their title hopes alive, with Madrid only needing a win to become champions for the first time for three seasons.

However, Barca - champions in each of the previous two campaigns - went down 2-1 to 10-man Osasuna at Camp Nou, albeit Madrid's victory over Villarreal by the same scoreline would have ensured Los Blancos clinched the title regardless.

And Barca superstar Messi, who cancelled out Jose Arnaiz's opener with a typically exquisite free-kick before Roberto Torres' stoppage-time winner for Osasuna, acknowledged his side have been second best over the course of the campaign.

"We've been pushing all season but we've been inconsistent all season too," Messi told Movistar.

"Today it wasn't easy to find a way through to beat the goalkeeper. I don't think we should have lost but we knew what type of game this was going to be and we knew we'd have to remain patient to find a way through.

"I think Real Madrid did what they had to do. They've done very well since the break in play. Of course, we've had a lot of injuries and many points that we've dropped in games that we shouldn't have and now we have to be self-critical over the summer and look back at the mistakes we've made.

"Looking back over the course of the season, of course Madrid deserve it. We have to look back at ourselves and work out where we went wrong rather than looking at the other teams.

"It's difficult if you play in the way we played here today to win the title."

Barcelona suffered a dismal 2-1 home defeat to Osasuna on Thursday as they relinquished their LaLiga title to Real Madrid with a whimper.

Madrid secured their first championship since the 2016-17 season courtesy of a 2-1 win over Villarreal, opening an insurmountable seven-point gap over Barca with just a game to play.

With an injured Antoine Griezmann not in the squad and Luis Suarez starting on the substitutes' bench, Quique Setien's side looked bereft of ideas against their spirited visitors.

Lionel Messi scored a stunning free-kick to cancel out Jose Arnaiz's opener but Osasuna, who had Enric Gallego sent off late on, secured all three points in stoppage time thanks to Roberto Torres' strike.

Antoine Griezmann missed Barcelona's clash against Osasuna, while Luis Suarez was only named among the substitutes, as Quique Setien's men looked to keep their slim LaLiga title hopes alive.

Barca began the penultimate round of fixtures four points adrift of leaders Real Madrid, who knew a win over Villarreal would see the title return to the Spanish capital.

Anything but a Barcelona victory would also hand Los Blancos the trophy, and the Blaugrana were weakened by Griezmann's absence against Osasuna due to a thigh injury.

Suarez, a half-time replacement for Griezmann in Barca's last game at the weekend, was on the bench again but Setien did make four changes.

Ivan Rakitic, Martin Braithwaite, Junior Firpo and Ansu Fati were those to come in to the starting line-up.

Quique Setien expects to remain as Barcelona coach next season despite it looking unlikely he will guide them to LaLiga success.

Setien replaced Ernesto Valverde in January and was appointed on a two-and-a-half-year deal, with his possession-based brand of football thought to be a good fit for the club after fans grew frustrated with his predecessor.

But the former Real Betis coach has not been able to inspire the kind of improvement some hoped for, while draws with Celta Vigo and Atletico Madrid at the end of June look set to cost them in the title race.

Barca are four points adrift of Real Madrid, who will clinch the title on Thursday if they beat Villarreal at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.

Club icon Xavi has been frequently linked with a return to Barca as coach, though Setien believes it will still be him at the helm next term.

"Of course, I see myself training Barca next season," he told reporters. "I have already experienced this before.

"The reality is that the expectations one has haven't been achieved, or not yet, but the work done is what must be valued.

"This is what I understand, or what I would like to see assessed. Of course, I think about next year's continuity."

Regarding the seemingly imminent confirmation of failure in LaLiga, he added: "I take my share of the responsibility, but not all of it.

"Making that assessment of finding a culprit always focuses on the coach. I don't feel that we did things so badly, drawing three games [since the resumption]. More merit should go to Madrid, who have won every game."

Luis Suarez has already effectively accepted defeat in the title race publicly, though Setien is retaining faith Madrid will slip up.

"That is his opinion. It is not yet [over] because anything can happen, but it is difficult," Setien continued.

"It requires a team that has won every game [since the season resumed] to lose. We have had three draws that make this difference.

"Obviously Madrid have done better because they have won all eight games. It is possible that a circumstance can arise [where Barca can win the title]. We will fight until the end."

Lionel Messi's comparative goals shortfall this season is not a concern for head coach Quique Setien, who swiftly pointed out the Barcelona superstar does more than just put the ball in the net.

Although Messi is the top goalscorer in LaLiga this term with 22, 2019-20 looks set to be his least prolific season for more than a decade.

With just two matches left of the league campaign, he is one shy of the 23 goals he registered in 2008-09 – his lowest LaLiga haul since is 26 in 2015-16, which he followed with totals of 37, 34 and 36 in the previous three seasons.

Few would begrudge Messi a slight decrease given this Barca side is arguably the weakest since the Argentina icon made his breakthrough, and he is 33 years old.

It was again put to Setien that Barca's talisman might be in need of a rest, and while he accepts that could be the case, he also reminded detractors that Messi does not just score – his 20 assists in LaLiga is nine more than anyone else in the division.

"Surely many players need to rest. The records are the same, but everyone is losing that clarity of expression," he said ahead of Wednesday's visit of Osasuna. "We have already talked a lot about this topic.

"I see him [Messi] well. It is true that there may be some records that he does not meet when compared to other years.

"[But] we all know who Messi is, if he's not [contributing] with goals, he is with assists. All I can say about him I have already said."

The absence of Frenkie de Jong has not helped Barca in recent weeks, with the Dutchman missing seven matches due to a calf injury, though he looks set to return against Osasuna.

"He has done several training sessions with the group, he is in a good frame of mind, with the problem almost forgotten," Setien added. "We will see if he starts tomorrow or starts on the bench. He is at the team's disposal, of course."

Setien also effectively confirmed Juventus-bound Arthur will only be used if absolutely necessary, with the Brazil international's €82million transfer already confirmed.

"He has returned to the team and is training. He will have an option to play if it's essential and necessary," Setien said.

Joao Felix was delighted with his two-goal performance in Atletico Madrid's 5-0 thrashing of Osasuna in LaLiga on Wednesday.

The 20-year-old attacker struck twice before goals from Marcos Llorente, Alvaro Morata and Yannick Carrasco lifted Atletico to a comfortable win.

Joao Felix moved onto eight goals in his first season at Atletico and the Portugal international was happy with his display.

"I'm feeling good and very happy because of the two goals and the 5-0 win," he said.

He added: "It's very different. We like playing with fans in the stands, even away from home. We have to get used to it and continue like this."

Atletico moved into fourth in the table, sitting two points clear of Real Sociedad – who have a game in hand – and Getafe.

Diego Simeone said it was important to claim three points as Atletico recorded their first win since returning from the coronavirus-enforced break.

"It's important. We needed a win and we were up against a side that completed a great game in San Sebastian," the Atletico coach said.

"We knew we'd encounter difficulties like the ones we found.

"The game was very evenly matched until we went 2-0 up. Both sides had their chances.

"I think our attacking players were fast and clinical and we benefitted from that."

Atletico are in action again with a clash at home to Real Valladolid on Saturday.

Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak became the fastest goalkeeper to reach a century of LaLiga clean sheets after the team's 5-0 demolition of Osasuna.

Osasuna were put to the sword on Wednesday as Atletico star Oblak made history by keeping his 100th clean sheet from just 182 league appearances.

Slovenia international Oblak shattered the record set by Miguel Reina (222 matches).

Oblak has established himself as one of the world's best keepers since joining Atletico from Benfica in 2014.

The 27-year-old has tasted Europa League, UEFA Super Cup and Supercopa de Espana success with Atletico, while he was a Champions League runner-up in 2015-16.

Atletico are fourth in the LaLiga standings through 29 matches following their midweek rout of Osasuna.

Diego Simeone's men are two points clear in the fourth and final Champions League spot, though Real Sociedad are scheduled to face Deportivo Alaves on Thursday.

Joao Felix struck twice as Atletico Madrid ended a three-match winless streak in LaLiga in style with a 5-0 hammering of Osasuna on Wednesday.

Diego Simeone's side had slipped to sixth prior to their trip to El Sadar Stadium, but Joao Felix's double set the stage for them to move into the top four.

Having broken the deadlock in the 27th minute, Joao Felix was on hand to tuck in his and Atleti's second shortly after the hour, with Adrian Lopez spurning a glorious chance to get Osasuna back into the game.

But any lingering doubt over the result was eradicated when Marcos Llorente drilled home with 11 minutes remaining.

Llorente then teed up Alvaro Morata to add a coolly taken fourth, before Yannick Carrasco completed the rout.

LaLiga has confirmed the season will restart with a Seville derby on June 11 and the campaign will wrap up on July 19, it was confirmed on Sunday.

Suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, LaLiga will get back underway with a clash between Sevilla and Real Betis.

The remaining 11 matchdays will be played in less than six weeks as Barcelona and Real Madrid battle for the title.

Barca were two points clear of their bitter rivals when the season was stopped due to COVID-19, which has killed more than 373,000 people worldwide.

Quique Setien's men return to action with a trip to Real Mallorca on June 13, a day before Madrid host Eibar.

Barcelona also host Atletico Madrid on July 1 before facing rivals Espanyol in a derby clash a week later.

Barcelona's remaining fixtures
June 13: Real Mallorca (A)
June 16: Leganes (H)
June 21: Sevilla (A)
June 24: Athletic Bilbao (H)
June 28: Celta Vigo (A)
July 1: Atletico Madrid (H)
July 5: Villarreal (A)
July 8: Espanyol (H)
July 12: Real Valladolid (A)
July 15: Osasuna (H)
July 19: Deportivo Alaves (A)

Real Madrid's remaining fixtures
June 14: Eibar (H)
June 18: Valencia (H)
June 21: Real Sociedad (A)
June 24: Real Mallorca (H)
June 28: Espanyol (A)
July 1: Getafe (H)
July 5: Athletic Bilbao (A)
July 8: Deportivo Alaves (H)
July 12: Granada (A)
July 15: Villarreal (H)
July 19: Leganes (A)

Chimy Avila became the first Osasuna player to return to training since the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, as the Argentine forward took the next step in his recovery from the serious knee injury that scuppered a potential move to Barcelona.

Avila, 26, had been in fine form for promoted Osasuna – whom he joined in July – before he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in January during a 2-0 win over Levante.

At the time he was being strongly linked with a move to Barcelona as injury cover for Luis Suarez, and recent quotes attributed to Avila suggested a move to Camp Nou was close.

Barca ultimately went for Martin Braithwaite from Leganes, with Avila consigned to a lengthy bout of rehabilitation.

But with the coronavirus pandemic causing the season's suspension in March, the former Huesca attacker could yet take part in 2019-20 once again.

With Osasuna confirming on Tuesday their first-team squad is to resume individual training later this week, they also showed footage of Avila in action at club's facilities the same day.

A day prior, LaLiga confirmed plans for a staggered return to group training for clubs, with the target being to resume matches in June.

Spain has confirmed over 250,000 cases of COVID-19, more than any other country except the United States.  

The resumption of football in Europe's top five leagues still appears some way off due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving players with plenty of time to analyse their performances this season.

Using Opta data, we have already examined some of the worst attacking, passing and defensive numbers from 2019-20, so now it's the turn of the goalkeepers.

We have analysed five metrics for keepers to have featured in at least 10 league games this season, giving us a good summary of those most in need of some improvement.

The metrics include goals conceded, save percentage and drops.

It's time to name and shame...

 

THE WORST GOALKEEPINGING STATS IN EUROPE'S TOP-FIVE LEAGUES 2019-20:

BUNDESLIGA:

Most goals conceded: Jiri Pavlenka (53)
Worst save percentage: Roman Burki (53.62 per cent)
Most drops: Alexander Nubel (6)
Worst passing accuracy: Tomas Koubek (54.89)
Worst keeper sweeper accuracy: Leopold Zingerle (0 per cent)

LALIGA:

Most goals conceded: Diego Lopez (46)
Worst save percentage: Juan Soriano (55 per cent)
Most drops: Simon Unai, Aitor Fernandez, Marko Dmitrovic, Diego Lopez (3)
Worst passing accuracy: David Soria (40.79 per cent)
Worst keeper sweeper accuracy: Simon Unai (33.33 per cent)

LIGUE 1:

The resumption of football in Europe's top five leagues still appears some way off due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving players with plenty of time to analyse their performances this season.

Using Opta data, we have already examined some of the worst attacking and passing numbers from 2019-20, so now it's the turn of the defence.

We have analysed nine metrics for defenders to have featured in at least 10 league games this season, thereby giving us a good summary of those whose defending could use some improvement.

The metrics include success rates in duels, tackling and aerial challenges, errors leading to shots and goals and how many times a player has been dribbled past by an opponent.

As always when it comes to data, context is key. For success rates in duels, tackling and aerial challenges we have only included players who have completed 20 actions in each category, which accounts to two per game.

The below therefore provides a good indication on where improvement is needed, and there are a few surprising names…

 

THE WORST DEFENDING STATS IN EUROPE'S TOP-FIVE LEAGUES 2019-20:

BUNDESLIGA:

Most tackles lost: William (29)
Worst tackle success: Alexander Hack (40.91 per cent)
Most errors leading to goals: Robin Koch (3)
Most errors leading to shots (including goals): Robin Koch (3)
Most dribbled past by an opponent: William (32)
Most duels lost: Stefan Lainer (125)
Worst duel success: Julian Ryerson (35 per cent)
Most aerials lost: Robin Koch and Sven Bender (56)
Worst aerial success: Christian Gunter (22.86 per cent)

LALIGA:

Most tackles lost: Pervis Estupinan (34)
Worst tackle success: Nacho Monreal (40 per cent)
Most errors leading to goals: Joseph Aidoo and Sergio Ramos (2)
Most errors leading to shots (including goals): Pervis Estupinan (5)
Most dribbled past by an opponent: Marc Cucurella (35)
Most duels lost: Marc Cucurella (167)
Worst duel success: Daniel Carrico (40.3 per cent)
Most aerials lost: Didac Vila (55)
Worst aerial success: Xavi Quintilla (25.71 per cent)

LIGUE 1:

Most tackles lost: Boubacar Kamara (33)
Worst tackle success: Lionel Carole (34.78 per cent)
Most errors leading to goals: Sofiane Alakouch, Timothee Kolodziejczak and Stefan Mitrovic (2)
Most errors leading to shots (including goals): Wesley Fofana, Alexander Djiku and Malang Sarr (4)
Most dribbled past by an opponent: Arturo Calabresi (42)
Most duels lost: Issiaga Sylla (161)
Worst duel success: Colin Dagba (40 per cent)
Most aerials lost: Pablo Martinez (59)
Worst aerial success: Hamza Mendyl (17.39 per cent)

PREMIER LEAGUE:

Most tackles lost: Ricardo Pereira (50)
Worst tackle success: Calum Chambers (38.46 per cent)
Most errors leading to goals: Jan Bednarek (3)
Most errors leading to shots (including goals): Jan Bednarek, Tyrone Mings, John Egan, Davinson Sanchez and James Tarkowski (4)
Most dribbled past by an opponent: Ricardo Pereira (53)
Most duels lost: Ricardo Pereira (215)
Worst duel success: Benjamin Mendy (37.38 per cent)
Most aerials lost: Ben Mee (84)
Worst aerial success: Max Aarons (26.09 per cent)

SERIE A:

Most tackles lost: Matteo Darmian (32)
Worst tackle success: Andrea Cistana (40 per cent)
Most errors leading to goals: Jhon Chancellor, Fabio Lucioni, Jose Luis Palomino, Alex Sandro (2)
Most errors leading to shots (including goals): Fabio Lucioni (5)
Most dribbled past by an opponent: Stefano Sabelli (40)
Most duels lost: Giovanni Di Lorenzo (126)
Worst duel success: Hans Hateboer (40.63 per cent)
Most aerials lost: Mattia Bani (57)
Worst aerial success: Jeremy Toljan (28.00 per cent)

AND THE TOP NINE:

Most tackles lost: Ricardo Pereira (50)
Worst tackle success: Lionel Carole (34.78 per cent)
Most errors leading to goals: Robin Koch and Jan Bednarek (3)
Most errors leading to shots (including goals): Pervis Estupinan and Fabio Lucioni (5)
Most dribbled past by an opponent: Ricardo Pereira (53)
Most duels lost: Ricardo Pereira (215)
Worst duel success: Julian Ryerson (35 per cent)
Most aerials lost: Ben Mee (84)
Worst aerial success: Hamza Mendyl (17.39 per cent)

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