Pique: The ball wouldn’t go in

Gerard Pique felt it wasn’t to be for Barcelona against Atletico Madrid as ‘the ball wouldn’t go in’ in their Champions League quarter-final second leg.

An Antoine Griezmann double overturned La Blaugrana’s first leg lead and sent the holders out in the last eight, Pique suggesting fate was on Atletico’s side.

“It’s a blow. We didn’t expect it. We have to pick ourselves up, as we have many times at this club,” he told reporters, according to AS.

“We were more contemplative in the first half, we didn’t want to concede and we didn’t, but Griezmann’s goal upset the plans. We were more aggressive in the second half and created enough to score, but it wasn’t to be. It was written the ball wouldn’t go in, it wasn’t our day.”

Pique added that Barca are out of sorts but noted that it’s not possible to always be playing at your best, and said he had ‘nothing’ to say about referee Nicola Rizolli.

“We’re in a little slump. You’re not always at your best. Things either go better or they go worse. The team was hungry to score but the ball wouldn’t go in,” he continued.

“This is football. The opponent is playing as well. We believe we’re very good, but not always in our best form.

“I don’t think we’re at a low physical level. It’s true we’ve had a lot of games, but I think the team has competed well.

“I won’t deny it has been a very hard blow that we didn’t expect. We have to get up, we play for La Liga and the Copa del Rey and they are two very nice competitions we hope to win.

“There is enthusiasm and strength [to get out of the slump] but sometimes slumps come at the worst time.”

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