Luis Enrique calms Messi worries

Luis Enrique calmed any fears about a lengthy Lionel Messi absence and refused to blame Barcelona's 0-0 draw with Malaga on Paco Alcacer.

Luis Enrique says Lionel Messi is already on the mend after he was forced to sit out Barcelona's 0-0 draw with Malaga on Saturday.

Messi withdrew from the squad just a few hours before the game at Camp Nou, with the club confirming he has been suffering from sickness.

The champions looked short on ideas in the absence of the Argentina star and the suspended Luis Suarez, with Paco Alcacer anonymous for long periods and Gerard Pique eventually pushed up to offer some kind of extra target.

Luis Enrique calmed fears Messi could be out for a long period but insisted he is happy with Alcacer's contribution given the newcomer's lack of playing time since joining from Valencia.

"Messi has to be very bad to miss a game. But it's nothing serious - he's already recovering," he told a media conference.

"We lost Messi, we lost Luis Suarez, but it's squads that win games."

On Alcacer's form, he added: "In football, you have to be consistent. In order for a player to score goals, he needs minutes.

"I'm happy with him and he keeps improving, but to pretend otherwise is illogical. I'm delighted with Paco Alcacer and with the team."

Luis Enrique was happy to have Pique back after three league games on the sidelines with an ankle injury, but he conceded that dropping two points was an unwelcome surprise.

"Gerard's return is a positive. He's a leader in the team and I thought he would be able to create some chances," he said.

"They had 10 guys in their area. You have to move the ball and try to create some spaces. In the first half, when they were fresh, that's more difficult.

"I praise my players and the fans. There were chances and we tried until the very end.

"We didn't expect to lose points so I can imagine how upset my players are."