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'It's a setback but we need to keep going': Barcelona anxious as Messi injury threatens to derail domestic campaign

'It's a setback but we need to keep going': Barcelona anxious as Messi injury threatens to derail domestic campaign
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde is calling for calm among the Catalan club faithful after club captain Lionel Messi's latest injury setback looks set to rule the Argentine ace out for an undetermined period of time.

Messi has had an injury-ravaged start to the season and was withdrawn at half-time during Tuesday's 2-1 win against Villarreal with an adductor injury, meaning he has failed to complete 90 minutes in La Liga this season after a calf injury ruled him out of the first four games of the campaign.

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The latest injury setback threatens to extend the Barca skipper's absence, and Valverde admits that he does not yet know the severity of the injury or the timetable for the forward's return, and he could potentially be absent for next week's crunch Champions League fixture with Inter Milan.

"I don't know how long he will be out for, we hope he can return to the team soon," Valverde said of Messi at a press conference. "It's not serious, it's a small strain but we're going to see how he improves next week.

"If he returns soon it's a boost for us and if not then we will be missing a player who is absolutely decisive. But we have the resources to manage without him, it's a setback, but we need to keep going."

The Spanish champions have endured a torrid start to the defence of their La Liga crown. The currently lie in 7th position in the table with three wins, a draw and two losses from their six games thus far - a drop in form which many suggest is directly linked to Messi's absence. 

Despite picking up just a solitary point on the road this season, Valverde says his side will be prepared for their trip to Getafe this weekend, even without their talisman.

"I don't think we're anxious but because everyone keeps speaking about that, it seems as if we need to win away as soon as possible to get rid of this feeling," he added.

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"It's true that we haven't won away and we haven't played well away and the two things are related. The fact we are playing Getafe is good for us as they will put us under real pressure at their stadium and will force us to dig deep."

The task will be made all that harder without Lionel Messi, the man who scored 51 times last season, and points to the struggles the club may be forced to face when the 32-year-old eventually retires.