Lionel Messi accused his Barcelona team-mates of making ‘childish mistakes’ in the club’s Spanish Super Cup semi-final defeat against Atletico Madrid.
The La Liga giants held a slender advantage against Diego Simeone’s men in Jeddah, but surrendered their lead after a late mistake from Neto allowed Atletico to secure a spot in the showpiece’s final.
And Messi believes that Barcelona should have successfully negated the dying stages of the pulsating clash.
Atletico had taken the lead just one minute after the second half kicked off when Angel Correa rapidly slipped through Koke to score the opener.
But a simply irresistible display from Messi dramatically spun the game on its head, with the Argentine talisman netting the leveller before seeing another strike controversially chalked off for handball.
💙❤ Thanks for coming out to support the team, Barça fans! pic.twitter.com/008gi9TOsX
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 9, 2020
Despite Barcelona edging in front through former Atletico star Antoine Griezmann, it was their opponents who hit back – leaving Messi to reflect on a missed opportunity to add to the Nou Camp outfit’s trophy haul.
‘It is a shame, we played a great game, after so long we felt good again, we were in control, dominated and attacked all the time,’ Messi told reporters.
‘We let it slip through certain mistakes when [Atletico] were already almost dead, in less than 10 minutes they turned round a game that we should have seen out.
‘It hurts because it is a title and we wanted to be in the final and win it, we showed a different side to what we have been showing recently against Espanyol and at the end of last year, we played a good game but sadly we couldn’t get the victory.
‘We have taken a step forward today despite the defeat but we are aware that we have not been doing things the way we want, we do not want to make these childish mistakes again.’
Atletico will now face arch rivals Real Madrid in the final on Sunday, much to the displeasure of Barcelona skipper Messi.
He added: ‘We will keep working and trying to improve, now we will have more days to prepare for the next game, we have to improve a lot and despite the fact that we have not been playing well we will try to get our play back.
‘It is normal when there are defeats and we don’t achieve our goals, the fans see that their team isn’t playing as they would like, as we would like, it is normal for them to speak out but we have to be more together than ever, it is a difficult situation because we let slip a title that we wanted to win but we have to look forward.’
The defeat once again firmly placed the spotlight on under-fire boss Ernesto Valverde, who has long since become a target of heavy criticism from the club’s supporters.