Ernesto Valverde will not push Lionel Messi, he feels a slow approach to his return from injury will be key to him hitting top form and staying there.

Messi has been beset by injuries since his return from the Copa America.

He had no preseason, missed the early part of Barcelonas La Liga campaign, and when he did return it was short-lived after suffering another setback.

It’s fair to say, that Barcelona are not the same team without Messi.

The Catalonian sides manager doesn’t just want Messi back though, he wants him back and at his best.

Valverde feels that a slow and gentle approach may be the best route to take in his talisman’s return.

In an interview reported by goal.com, he confirms Messi is on the road to recovery.

He said:

“He is in the process of being 100 per cent fit.”

“The other day he played 90 minutes and scored, and that always reassures the strikers.”

But he is taking things cautiously.

He added:

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“He has to go slowly to reach top form.”

“He only has one full game under his belt, we hope he can give us much more in the coming matches.”

Barcelona has been going through somewhat of a plague of injuries this season, but that appears to be nearing an end.

It has, however, caused a major slump in their form, and consequently their position in La Liga.

Valverde said:

“We have had a difficult time but what I like is that we have been able to react.”

“It is what we have been doing in recent years, overcoming slumps.”

“What we would like is to go top, but we can’t do that because we have slipped up.”

Eibar is Barca’s next opponent, and have been in reasonable form of late.

This could be a potential banana skin for Valverde’s men if they don’t get their act together.

Without Messi, just about anything can happen.

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BARCELONA, SPAIN – DECEMBER 11: Substitute Lionel Messi of Barcelona stands alongside Ernesto Valverde, Manager of Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League Group B match between FC Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur at Camp Nou on December 11, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

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