Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino has hinted that the super striker Lionel Messi may not be available in time when the club face Atletico Madrid in January; due to his injury.
The 26-year-old Argentine forward was ruled out for the rest of the year; after picking up an hamstring injury during Barca's 4-1 win over Real Betis last month.
And ever since, the Catalan club have slipped into consecutive defeats - even losing 2-1 to Ajax in the Champions League and seeing their unbeaten record in La Liga demolished by Athletic Bilbao last Sunday.
But Martino insists that Messi, who is currently in his hometown, will not be rushed back into action.
He also cast doubt over the possibility of his being fit enough to play when Barca clash with Atletico on January 11.
"He is working as planned, completing the different stages of his recovery," Martino told reporters.
"We hope that he will be ready at the start of January, but the closer we get to the date we will see if he needs more time.
"We cannot guarantee when he will be ready; what interests us more is that he has completely recovered."
However, concerning their back-to-back losses, Tata has insisted that the recent setbacks have not affected the team morale in the camp.
"There are two options, that the pessimism harms us or makes us even stronger," he added.
"We are full of optimism. We need to transform that into the matches. We need to show that we are going to fight and there is a reason why we are top of the league and in the Champions League last 16.
"I don't want to say that we are not worried by losing two games, but we are not loaded by pessimism."
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