Messi demands reaction: 'No time to waste'

Lionel Messi has said Barcelona cannot waste any more time and called for an immediate reaction as they prepare for two key games this week.

Barca host Villarreal at Camp Nou on Tuesday and then travel to Getafe on Saturday having made their worst start to a La Liga season in 25 years.

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Beaten 2-0 by Granada at the weekend, Barca are eighth in the table with seven points from five matches and have failed to win any of their four away games in all competitions since the start of the campaign.

"We have started badly," Messi said after winning FIFA's The Best men's player on Monday. "We are struggling to create and the opposition are generating chances against us easily.

"It is just the start of the season but we need a reaction now. There is no time to waste. We have to improve a lot. We are aware of that."

Messi is yet to start a game this season after injuring his calf in the summer. He returned as a substitute in last week's goalless draw with Borussia Dortmund and also came off the bench against Granada.

"It had been two, nearly three months without playing and you could tell," he said. "The other day I felt tired and sluggish. I didn't have that spark. I was lacking a bit of rhythm.

"I'll get better the more games and minutes I play, but there's no rush. It hasn't been worth taking any risks because I was told [by the club doctors] there was a chance of a relapse."

Messi is set to start against Villarreal with coach Ernesto Valverde under increasing pressure. Sources have told ESPN FC that some of the players have begun to lose confidence in him, but he played down the idea his team are in crisis on Monday.

Ousmane Dembele, meanwhile, returns to the squad following a hamstring injury at the expense of Carles Perez.

Ansu Fati, though, keeps his place and Messi is excited by the 16-year-old's potential.

"He impressed me the first day I saw him train," Messi said. "He caught my attention immediately. He has great quality, but we can't put too much pressure or responsibility on him.

"We [the players] have to help him and make sure the noise surrounding him doesn't impede his growth. He's got what it takes to be an important player for the club."

Asked about his main objective for the season, Messi said La Liga and the Champions League with Barcelona and the Copa America with Argentina are realistic targets.

"All of them," he said. "It's been four years since we've won the Champions League and we really want to win it again. We know, though, that if we don't do the job day in day out, then we won't make it.

"And as for the Copa America, I'm really looking forward to having the opportunity to go for it yet again. I'm really excited about this year's Copa."

Messi also said he still planned to end his career in Argentina, adding: "That's what I've always said, haven't I? It's a childhood dream of mine to play in the Newell's shirt, though I don't know if I can make it happen. It's not just down to me, though. I've got three children."