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The coach wants his star forward to lead the line off the ball as well as on it and praised Cesc Fabregas for a fine pre-season

Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino believes that Lionel Messi must lead by example when it comes to pressing the opposition.

The Argentine trainer has made tactical tweaks during pre-season to his newly inherited squad, including being more active in closing down players off the ball, and he believes that the four-time Ballon d'Or winner is crucial to the tactic working.

"Messi starting the pressing is important for the team," he told reporters on Monday at a press conference. "He's not just putting a bit of pressure, he really wants that ball."

As well as praising Cesc Fabregas, who has ignored Manchester United's interest this summer to stay at Camp Nou, Martino believes that expanding their offensive options is essential going forwards in 2013-14.

"Cesc had a good pre-season, he's doing great and gives us a lot of options," the former Newell's Old Boys boss added.

"How to improve? We can be more intense and press for a longer time. We can have more options in attack and know when to use them.

"I was eager for La Liga to start to see how the team was doing and I'm satisfied."

Barca next face Atletico Madrid in Wednesday's Supercopa de Espana, with kick-off at 23:00CET.

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