Lionel Messi is keen for Barcelona to maintain their strong form

Lionel Messi: Hopes Barcelona can continue their strong form

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Barcelona ace Lionel Messi is hoping his side can maintain their good form after contributing a brace to their 5-0 demolition of Rayo Vallecano.

The forward's double took his total in the Primera Division to 182, joint 10th on the league's list of all-time top goalscorers.

The victory also made it eight wins from nine games at the start of the season for the Catalans and strengthened their position at the top of the table.

"We feel really comfortable on the pitch," Argentinian Messi said on the club's official website.

"It's important that we keep on winning and we hope to continue on form. We're having really bad luck with injuries, but we're all playing at a high level."

Barca coach Tito Vilanova praised Messi, but focused on his work-rate.

"We're very pleased with Leo, but I'm sticking with what he did in the 89th minute, when we were up 5-0 he ran back 30 metres to defend a corner kick," he said.

David Villa was also on target as he continued his comeback from serious injury.

Vilanova added: "He needs to continue gaining rhythm and minutes on the pitch. I think we, and the Spanish national team, are managing his recovery well. He gets better each day."

Spectacular

Cesc Fabregas got another of the goals and he claimed Barca will be "spectacular" when they get all of their injured players back.

"We played our best game of the season," he said. "They went toe-to-toe with us and they made it difficult for us to play out of the back.

"Rayo's players went all out in the first half and that favoured us in the second, that's when the spaces started to open up.

"We need to be proud of this team. We're going through a complicated moment in terms of injuries, but we have a big enough squad to keep things moving forward.

"When we're back to full strength we'll be spectacular."