Barcelona head coach, Gerardo Martino, hailed Lionel Messi after the Catalans’ 4-1 win over Levante in their Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg on Wednesday night.
In his 400th appearance for the club, Messi set up all three goals for Cristian Tello and was also involved in the own goal which equalled Levante’s early 1-0 lead.
His coach admitted that Barcelona had a difficult first-half and were lucky that a Juanfran own goal levelled the game before Tello - who was rumoured to be scouted by Arsene Wenger at the stadium - scored his hat-trick.
"It's true we played really well in the second half and not in the first, when we didn't have enough penetration," Martino said.
"We were struggling to score and then we were lucky with Levante's own goal and could draw level.
"After that, we could see the best performance of the team.”
Tata Martino hailed Lionel Messi’s performance and says the Argentine always shows up when Barcelona need him most and can change any game for the Blaugrana.
"When (Lionel) Messi participates like today he can change any game,” Martino continued.
"Leo is one of our players who can change these kind of games - he didn't score today but gave three key assists to Cristian (Tello) and we could revert the score.
"He always appears when we need him to turn the games and that's something we have to consider."
The Barcelona boss then added that he is happy with the way Messi has used the time off the pitch to recover from his recent injury “to come back to Barça in the best way possible.”
“He’s not preparing for the World Cup, it’s not possible to do that.
“What Messi has done is take advantage of his time off the pitch to recover and to prepare himself physically.”
With Messi back in form, can Barcelona add silverware to their trophy cabinet by the end of the season? Have your say in the comment section below.