Espanyol coach Mauricio Pochettino has declared that Barcelona lose the best player in the world with the absence of recently-crowned Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi for Saturday's Barcelona derby at the Camp Nou.
"What Messi brings to a team, no other player can bring...although I was watching Barca's [Champions League] match against Inter and saw that even without Messi and [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, they played one of their best matches of the season", commented the former Espanyol player.
Pochettino also discussed the importance of Xavi Hernandez to Barca, saying "Messi can break a match wide open, but Xavi is the one that generates Barcelona's style of football".
Espanyol have been in freefall in La Liga, having lost their past three matches by a combined score of 10-0. The Blanquiazules hope that the local derby will serve as a springboard to regaining their composure and confidence.
Cyrus C. Malek, Goal.com