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Messi's level has never dropped, insists Luis Enrique

By Austin Amuzie - Monday, January 19, 2015

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique says Lionel Messi has not once allowed his standards to drop this season after his hat-trick in the 4-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.

The Catalan club moved back within one point of leaders Real Madrid thanks to Messi's treble and a late own goal from Sidnei.

Messi's sublime showing came at the end of a week filled with speculation over his future following remarks he made before Monday's Ballon d'Or ceremony, when he claimed he did not know where he would be playing his football next season.

Luis Enrique, however, was quick to praise his side's diminutive talisman and insists he has never been below par at any point in the campaign.

"He has been at a very high level throughout the season. At no time has it lowered," he said after the match.

Luis Enrique's side had been held by Getafe and beaten 1-0 by Real Sociedad in their last two away games in the league before Sunday's win, and although Barca were always in command at the Riazor, their coach remains far from totally satisfied with their performance levels.

"We have always had defensive intensity away from home," he added.

"We must be efficient in attack and in defence. But there are things to improve in both phases. Victories help."

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