Owen blames Messi, Suarez for Champions League exit — Roma vs Barcelona

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Barcelona need to put their painful Champions League exit to Roma behind them and concentrate on winning the Spanish league, their coach Ernesto Valverde said on Friday.

"Looking back is useless", said Valverde. "We coped with their game and played ours. It went right. This time it did not". But then his research group started to notice some interesting features that prompted genuine inquiry.

Own claimed that Messi and Suarez were effectively passengers when Barcelona are defending. And against Sevilla a fortnight ago, Barca trailed 2-0 in the 87th minute before Suarez and then Messi, as a substitute, engineered a dramatic late escape.

If they overcome out-of-form Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final later this month, they will likely be toasting a domestic double at the end of the season, possibly as La Liga's first ever invincible team.

But Roma's triumph, ensuring Barca's third straight quarter-final exit in Europe, should at least serve as a wake-up call, reinforcing the need for changes in the summer. "We need to win tomorrow so that we only need seven more points to be champions".

Valverde bore the brunt of criticism in the media.

Manchester United have opened talks regarding a move for Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic, according to reports in Spain. They (Roma) were strong, physical and we had a lot of problems.

However, Roma had other ideas and produced a tactical masterclass to create one of the most historic Champions League evenings in Italian history. Real Madrid trail Valencia by a point. Barca are on the cusp of breaking Real Sociedad's 1980 record of 38 unbeaten league games, set in a run that stretched across two seasons.

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"You have to endure the pain - there will be some tough days", Valverde said.