Enrique: We must adapt without Messi

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has backed his side to cope with the absence of the injured Lionel Messi, ahead of Saturday's clash with Sporting Gijón.

The Blaugrana will be without the services of their talismanic forward for the next three weeks after he suffered a groin injury during Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid at the Nou Camp.

His absence will surely be felt by the Spanish champions, with the 29-year-old bagging four goals and providing two assists in his first five La Liga appearances of the campaign.

However, Enrique highlighted the fact that his side managed to soldier on when Messi was on the treatment table for a lengthy spell last season, and backed his squad to cushion the blow of the Argentine's absence once again.

"Not to have Messi is always difficult but we have proved that we have enough resources to not depend on him," Luis Enrique told reporters.

"To have a player injured is bad news, even worse when it's the best player in the world.

"In order to win titles, we have to overcome situations like this one, having to do without important players.

"The team did fantastically well last season without him."

He added: "We have options to replace Messi and we have to evaluate them.

"I expect the best version of all of my players, the same as when we have Leo. I'm not going to ask them for anything extra because they already give that in every game.

"It's obvious that we are going to experience different situations without Messi but we must adapt."

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