On Wednesday, dismantling all the rumors, Barcelona came out with flying colors after crushing Inter Milan to take control of Champions League, without the injured Messi. Barcelona earned a convincing 2-0 win at home.
Barco is now leading the Group B with nine points while Inter on 2nd with six points, with PSV Eindhoven and Tottenham Hotspur, locked on a point each.
“We will still miss Messi but we wanted to miss him while winning. We had a great opponent in front of us and we prevented them from playing and got a great result,” Valverde said.
With Messi watching from the stand with his right arm in a cast after fracturing in a match against Sevilla on Saturday, the Catalans did lack some usual swaggers. They survived an early threat when ball cross low on to the feet of Inter captain Mauro but the Argentine sent the ball over the bar.
After relieving from the threat, Barca soon became to dominate the game. Arthur Melo, the Brazilian midfielder, manipulated the game in a way that gave Barca maximum possession and starved Inter for any chances before the first half.
“Barca are better with Messi around, but they also know how to do well without him, as we saw today,” said Inter coach Luciano Spalletti.
“They know exactly how they want to play, they move the ball with speed and they press you a lot high up the pitch.”
Inter-Milan had a better second half as they build up a couple of dangerous spells without troubling Barca Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Barca took control over the match quickly and Spanish Left-back Jordi Alba killed off the Inter’s resistance with a thumping low finish and wrapped the game.
Barca is loaded with plenty of confidence to face Real Madrid on Sunday’s ‘El Clasico’ and filled with belief that they aren’t dependent on Messi on the pitch to beat one of Europe’s best sides.