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We are making Messi work too hard, Martino tells Miami

MIAMI (AFP) – Inter Miami are expecting too much work from their Argentine star Lionel Messi, coach Gerardo Martino said on Friday, ahead of the team’s Florida derby clash with Orlando City.

Miami are unbeaten in their opening two games, with a home win over Real Salt Lake followed by a draw at the Los Angeles Galaxy today.

But with a busy run of fixtures for club and country coming up for Messi this month, Martino said the team need to find a way to reduce the eight-times Ballon d’Or winner’s workload. “I feel that in these last two matches, he has expended too much energy, and that is also my responsibility to make sure the team operates in a way that we can use him in the best way,” Martino told reporters.

Messi has been playing in a relatively free role, behind former Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez, often floating deep to find the ball and then seeking to drive his team up the field.

It was Messi’s stoppage time goal that earned Miami a point at the Galaxy but Martino says the performance took a lot out of the 36-year-old.

“I’ve been discussing some things with him and what concerns me the most is the day-to-day and how he is recovering game by game. I feel that in these first two matches, we have relied on him too much, which has caused him significant fatigue in both games,” he said.

The former Argentina and Mexico national team coach said the team have to re-find a way to provide Messi service closer to goal. “In the Leagues Cup game against Orlando (last season), he often found the ball in the final quarter of the field and was able to finish the play, he scored from inside the area.

“That’s what we need to get back to, the team finding him to make plays and sometimes finding him for the finishes,” he said. Miami are hoping their latest Argentine signing, Federico Redondo will have his paperwork resolved to make his debut soon.

Inter Miami FC’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi kicks the ball during their MLS match against the LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson California. PHOTO: AFP
Inter Miami FC’s Lionel Messi vies with LA Galaxy’s Joseph Paintsil during the MLS football match between the LA Galaxy and Inter Miami FC at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson California. PHOTO: AFP
Gerardo Martino. PHOTO: AP