• Lionel Messi has equaled Pele's all-time club goal record
  • Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman  thinks they should've been handed a penalty kick before halftime against Valencia
  • Koeman is hoping for better results in two months

Despite being another monumental game for Lionel Messi, Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman expressed his frustration over one crucial moment in the Valencia draw.

Messi has equaled Pele’s all-time record of 643 goals for a single club after netting a close-range goal against Valencia Saturday. After full-time, Koeman lauded the Barca captain saying, "We know all about his impressive career. It is another very good achievement," Goal reported.

However, the Dutchman thinks that referees did a bad job officiating when Alejandro Hernandez’s initial red card on Jose Gaya was later downgraded to a yellow card after reviewing a foul play on Antoine Griezmann just before halftime. For Koeman, a converted penalty kick could’ve changed the outcome of the game.

"Justice does not exist in football," Koeman exclaimed. "It is always difficult to assess the referee's performance. The goal just before half-time did us a lot of damage. But the team's personality was clear to see again. I am proud of my players."

Barcelona shot a total of 25 attempts with nine on target. The team also handled the ball way more than Valencia, recording a 73% to 27% advantage in possessions rate. Clearly, the Catalans were inefficient almost the entire game, and Koeman acknowledged their mistakes.

Based on the coach’s assessment, it was a hard-fought game, but the lack of focus took a toll on them. He also pointed out that his team played a sloppy game with the ball.

"It was a difficult game. We fought back but have to be more focused," the manager admitted. "We had chances but weren't focused on some other actions, and the opponents defended well. We made more of an effort in the second half to win the game but didn't create as many chances as we wanted. It was an irregular game from us; we lost balls in areas that were dangerous.”

"I don't think it was to do with an attitude problem,” he added. “There was an irregularity to the whole game. We lost balls and doubted ourselves. We also know we have problems with set-pieces. You have to get above your opponent, but we have smaller players."

Barcelona lost three points in the Valencia draw and is now eight points behind La Liga’s no. 1 team, Atletico Madrid. Koeman hopes to win the next few games and turn things around in “two months.”

"There are a lot of points left [to be won],” he emphasized. “It's a very tough season. In two months, everything could be different. We have to fight to make up the points difference."

Lionel Messi with Frenkie de Jong at the end of Barcelona's 2-0 win away to Juventus
Lionel Messi with Frenkie de Jong during a Barcelona game AFP / Marco BERTORELLO