Messi proud of Barcelona response in Alaves thrashing

Lionel Messi - cropped
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The standard set in Barcelona's victory has laid down a marker for next season, according to the team's star player

Lionel Messi says the attitude shown by Barcelona in their 5-0 win over Deportivo Alaves on Sunday is the benchmark for next season. 

After proving unable to keep pace with Real Madrid since the resumption, Barca ultimately surrendered their La Liga crown in midweek after an insipid 2-1 home defeat to Osasuna. 

They ended their domestic campaign in some style, though, Messi scoring twice and further goals from Ansu Fati, Luis Suarez and Nelson Semedo sealing the win. 

In assisting Fati for the opener, Messi broke the record for most assists in a single La Liga campaign, while he took his goal tally to 25 in 33 appearances in the Spanish top-flight this term.

Messi was impressed by his team-mates' response and says the commitment shown on Sunday should be the bare minimum as they look to reclaim their title next season.

He told Movistar: "As coach Quique Setien said the other day, we have had some very good games, some very good moments. But we have to do that more consistently now. 

"Today, we saw something else. It was a difficult game to play and the team responded differently in attitude and commitment. It is a step forward for what is to come. 

"We did a lot of self-criticism and realised a lot of things. We didn't have a great season.  

"Today is a step forward in terms of attitude and commitment, which is what you always have to have. You have to at least match the attitude of any rival; if not more."

Messi's comments were more upbeat than his criticism of his team-mates after their midweek loss, as he urged them to live up to the standard expected of the Catalan side.

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"We were a very erratic, very weak, low-intensity team…We lost a lot of points and [Thursday’s] game is a summary of the season," he said.

"We have to be self-critical. Starting with the players but doing a global self-criticism. We are Barca and we have to win everything. We can't look at Madrid…Madrid have done their job, but we have helped them a lot.”

While their domestic duties are done for 2019-20, Barca now switch their focus to the Champions League. They host Napoli in the second leg of their last-16 tie at Camp Nou on August 8.

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