Lionel Messi appears eager for Barcelona's Ernesto Valverde to remain in charge of the club next season after trying to shift the blame of the club's exit at the hand of Liverpool in the Champions League away from their head coach.
Barcelona took a three-goal lead to Anfield in a second leg which appeared a formality, but Anfield hosted one of its greatest ever European nights to see Liverpool through to another Champions League final.
Manager Valverde was thrown to the wolves after their defeat and remains at risk of losing his job, but club legend Messi insists that only the players are to blame for Barcelona's failure in Europe's elite competition.
"I think the coach has done an impressive job," Messi said, quoted by Mundo Deportivo. "I think in that elimination against Liverpool, he is practically blameless. We are the only ones to blame for that match.
"It was unfortunate the match we played, the image we left behind. That happened two years in a row, that we missed out on the Champions League final. The truth is what happened cannot be allowed. We were playing a final.
"He will be as guilty as everyone else in the locker room but the ones who [are most to blame] are us."
Messi added that he wants to work with Barcelona's double-winning manager beyond this season, amid pressure on the club's decision makers to make a change this summer.
"I would like Valverde] to continue," he added. "You may like it or not, but as we play this year we can win another double. But this is a very big spot. In these two years, two games were lost. It is true that they tainted us but beyond that, the rest was good."