Xavi Hernandez echoed Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol in identifying that Barcelona ‘lacked intensity’ against Ajax on Tuesday night.

The Catalans were defeated 2-1 in the Netherlands in this Champions League Group H encounter, for a first defeat of the season under Tata Martino, and in spite of having played the second half against 10 men.

“We can only congratulate Ajax. During the first half they had more intensity, whilst with the penalty we have gotten a little back into the game,” mused Xavi, who converted that 48th minute penalty to make it 2-1.

“It has cost us to do everything, to keep the ball, to move. Upon their red card we were able to take control, but we lacked intensity.

“Ajax are a team that will pressurise you, they have pressured us a lot pressing and high up the pitch, it just didn’t give us the chance to bring the ball out under control.

“They were more intense than us and although we tried to turn it round in the second half, the 2-0 score was just too much and we couldn’t do it. We had a bad game –especially in the first half.

“They were tight together at the back and full of energy. We hope it doesn’t affect us too badly – it’s the first defeat and let’s hope it won’t have too bad an effect.

“We’ve got a home game ahead of us and we still have a great chance to finish top of the group. Teams don’t forgive you in the Champions League and you could see that in the first half.

“It’s very hard to get an away win in Europe or in the Spanish League.”

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