Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman said it would be madness to suggest he is considering his future at the club after Wednesday’s 4-1 Champions League defeat against Paris Saint-Germain.
Lionel Messi put Barca ahead in the first half with a penalty kick at Camp Nou, but PSG, spurred on by Kylian Mbappe’s hat-trick and Moise Keane’s header, fought back to take a three-goal lead into their second game in Paris next month.
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With this defeat, Barca are on the eve of a second consecutive season without a trophy. They are eight points behind La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid, who played one more game last week and lost their first semi-final match of the Copa del Rey 2-0 to Sevilla.
If I was someone who was happy when we won and after a result like today would say I don’t want to continue, that would be crazy, Koeman said at a press conference when asked if the way he felt after the loss made him think about leaving.
I know where I stand and what we need to change. We’re trying. We’re not at the end of the road yet, we’re halfway there.
This is the fourth time in as many seasons that Barca have suffered a heavy defeat in the Champions League, following similar defeats against Roma, Liverpool and Bayern Munich.
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After the 8-2 defeat against Bayern in August, which led to the dismissal of Quique Cetion and the recruitment of Koeman, Barca tried to make some changes to the team by letting young players go and letting Luis Suarez, Arturo Vidal and Ivan Rakitic go.
Koeman therefore stated that the expectations of the club need to be adjusted, although before Tuesday’s game he is confident that his side can compete with anyone.
We must always strive to win everything, but we must admit that we fall short in some areas, the Barca boss added.
I have often said that we are on the right track, but that we are missing things. Litter in 20, he’ll be better in 4. Pedri is already shining at his age, but in five years time he will be better than any midfielder at PSG.
It’s difficult, especially with the [demands] of the press. But I’m a realist. I always protect my team. We all did. We can defend better, we can be more aggressive, and we’re going to change that and work on it.
Of course we’re still missing something, but I didn’t think so before this match. It’s not the end of the road. I seem to be more realistic than everyone else.
Barca overcame a four goal deficit in their last meeting with PSG in the Round of 16 of the 2017 Champions League with a glorious 6-1 win in the second leg, but Koeman is not expecting another heroic comeback in the meeting between the two teams in tenth place. Walk to the Parc des Princes.
I could have lied, but at 4-to-1, there’s almost no chance of succeeding, he admitted. This is a team that has already come together and we are in transition. We need to improve in areas where we fall short. It’s my responsibility.
The first half was more balanced, we had a chance from Ousmane [Dembele], 1-0, but in the second half they were better, especially physically, and were a much more effective team.
Barca were in the game before halftime. Messi took them into the lead from the penalty spot, Dembele narrowly failed to score and Antoine Griezmann created two chances, first against Keylor Navas and then from close range, before Mbappe equalised.
After the break it was one-way traffic, but goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved on Mbappe and Keane to keep the score level.
Against teams like PSG you need an almost perfect game and we failed to do that today, Griezmann complained. They were higher. That’s not the picture we want to show. It was a bad match.
Now we have to work hard, go forward and fight until the last second. We go in to try to win and get through. We know it’s hard, but we’re not going there just to visit [Paris].