Luis Enrique admits Barcelona “are in a rut” and face a “test” to get out of it after Wednesday’s Champions League elimination at the hands of Atletico Madrid.
Barca became the latest club to fail in defending the Champions League as Antoine Griezmann’s brace earned Atleti a 2-0 win on the night and 3-2 victory over both legs to reach the last four, and Enrique took full responsibility for his side’s disappointment.
“We have not had our best day, but in the second half we have had chances. It was not to be. Atletico deserve praise,” the Coach said after the game.
“We really wanted to go further and rise to the challenge [of defending the trophy], but we congratulate Atletico Madrid.
“The first half was really tranquil, they played that way, waiting for us and trying to score a goal against us.
“I don’t feel uncomfortable. The first half was calm. There have been other times when I’ve been more uncomfortable.
“It’s clear that we’re in a rut and not at our best, especially if we consider other points of the season.
“Regardless, a lot of the season remains and there are important things still up for grabs.
“[On Gabi’s handball], I didn’t see anything. I’ve been told it was a penalty, but I have nothing to say.
“I’ve done a complete analysis [of why Barca’s forwards aren’t scoring].
“Our objectives are the highest and we’re proud that Barca are the favourites in every competition, but we must treat this defeat self-critically.
“There are also two competitions on the horizon, so we must improve to win them.
“[On Lionel Messi struggling], the only thing clear is that it’s unfair to blame him for the defeat.
“I saw an excellent attitude [from the players]. We must get back up as [what comes next] is a test for the team.
“[On the FIFA Club World Cup being a hindrance], I don’t think so. Our schedule last year was longer.
“[On his responsibility for the defeat], 99 percent… no, 100%.”