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'Messi = good' - Valencia poke fun at Bielsa with joke Barcelona spy mission

06:30 GMT 01/02/2019
Valencia Spy Lionel Messi Barcelona
The Spanish club's mascot has channelled its inner Marcelo Bielsa ahead of a clash against the Catalans

Valencia have sent their club mascot on a light-hearted mission to spy on La Liga leaders Barcelona with confirmation Lionel Messi is as good as previously thought.

Ahead of their league clash with the Catalans on Saturday, Los Che decided to send their inquisitive bat mascot behind enemy lines in a thinly-veiled attempt to gain an advantage.

The 'spying mission' comes in the wake of the controversy surrounding Leeds United coach Marcelo Bielsa , who recently admitted to questionable methods of research on every side he plays.

An English Football League investigation into the practise is ongoing after a complaint made by Derby County prior to last month's Championship game between the two sides.

The league leaders could yet be punished severely for the offence which could affect their bid to return to the Premier League for the first time since 2004.

Nevertheless, Valencia will need all the help they can get to take down Barcelona - who issued a tongue-in-cheek response to the flurry of messages on Twitter.

The club's official account wrote: "We don't have a bat here, but there has been a GOAT visiting today

Barcelona have won five of their last six games after they swept past Sevilla 6-1 in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday. 

Trailing 2-0 from the first leg, Philippe Coutinho scored twice, either side of Ivan Rakitic's goal, to turn the tie on its head.

Sergi Roberto extended the lead before Barca's dynamic duo Luis Suarez and Messi put the gloss on the performance late on.

Guilherme Arana pulled one back but Ernesto Valverde's side were not to be denied as they remain course to win the competition for a fifth season in a row.

Following the match, Messi hit out at accusations Barca were willing to throw away the competition having lost the first game.

"It was said that we threw the cup or that we didn't want it, or maybe my message was misinterpreted at the beginning of the season," Messi told Barca TV.

"The team want to fight for the three competitions, as it is always Barcelona's obligation every year.

"We do not throw anything."

The Catalans are currently top of La Liga and 20 points clear of seventh-placed Valencia, who also sealed their spot in the Copa del Rey semi-finals during the week with a win over Getafe

Still eyeing the quadruple this season, Barcelona face Lyon in the Champions League last-16 first leg later this month.