Ronald Koeman has thanks Lionel Messi for his endorsement as the new Barcelona boss despite their poor start to the sesaon.

Messi said a young team were growing under the Dutchman as they bid to improve on their current fifth place in La Liga, eight points behind leaders Atletico Madrid.

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"I'm not sure if it makes me more calm but I'm grateful because he's a very important player to this club and in the world of football, so anyone would be happy for him to speak well about them," Koeman told a news conference on Monday.

"But I feel the same way, I'm trying to get the team to move forward. It's a transitional year with lots of changes but he's still a very important part of this team and if he can help us improve more for the rest of this season we can be happy."

Messi is free to sign a pre-contract with another side in January as he has six months left on his current deal, and will sit out the game on Tuesday at home to Eiber due to an ankle injury.

However, French wide player Ousmane Dembele is likely to return after getting back from a hamstring problem.

Eibar are hovering above the relegation zone but gave champions Real Madrid good game this month before losing 3-1.

"They are a very competitive team, who always try to press their opponents high up the pitch," Koeman said.

"We will have to play well and make the most of the space when they press us. If we're not on top form, it'll be a tough game."

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