Messi's goal changed the game says Barcelona boss Luis Enrique.

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique admits Lionel Messi's equaliser before half-time gave his team the confidence they needed to go on and win the match on Sunday.

Espanyol suffered in the hands of Barcelona who beat them 5-1 at the Camp Nou in Sunday's Catalan derby keeping the pressure on league leaders Real Madrid.

Luis Enrique's side went down by a goal from former Barcelona player Sergio Garcia in the 13th minute, which made Barcelona look a little worried until the Argentine scoring machine Messi pulled one back just before half-time to level the score.

Messi continued by scoring another five minutes into the second half and fired home a third on the night after Gerard Pique and Pedro Rodriguez netted the 3rd and 4th to give Barcelona the win over arch rivals Espanyol.

"Until their goal it was a relatively placid game for us," the Asturian said after the match.

"Espanyol closed up at the back and it was difficult to get through, but we are used to that.

"We missed a couple of chances and they had some opportunities too. Messi's equaliser was key because in the second half we were better, we were much more effective and with the players we have, it is difficult for other teams to stop us when we are effective like that."

Luis Enrique also highlighted Messi's overall performance after the 27-year-old scored his third hatrick in his last 4 appearances for Barcelona.

"Today, Leo wasn't only decisive with his goals, but also with the way he set up chances and in his defensive play," he added.

"He was extremely involved all over the pitch and we have seen that since the beginning of the season."

Written by Thinkfootballideas staff

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