Ronald Koeman: “We lacked aggression when it came to winning the individual battles”

Barcelona‘s shock 2-1 defeat to Cadiz on Saturday evening means they’ve gotten off to their worst start to a season in 33 years.

Cadiz took the lead through Alvaro Negredo inside the first ten minutes, with Barcelona getting back on level terms thanks to a Pedro Alcala own goal just shy of the hour mark. Negredo got the winner minutes later.

“You can always play better,” Ronald Koeman said after the game in comments carried by Diario Sport.

“We didn’t fulfil what we set out to do, which was to win the ball high up the pitch. Instead, we went too deep to receive balls. It’s been another game where the opposition was right behind us and we failed to match them [physically], lacking aggression without the ball.”

Koeman was particularly aggrieved by the manner in which Negredo’s winner arrived, following a chain of errors by Jordi Alba, Clement Lenglet and Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

“Goals like that cannot be conceded,” he said.

“This one hurts more because it’s a difficult game in which we had just gotten level. We lacked aggression when it came to winning the individual battles.

“Without the ball, you have to know how you enter into a battle with an opponent. In some situations we have to be much stronger and I’m very disappointed.”

When asked if he thought his team had a lack of character, he snapped back, visibly annoyed. “If I think there is an attitude problem with my players, I will not say it here in front of the press,” he said.

“I will do it in the locker room.”

Next up for the Azulgrana is a crucial clash with Juventus, where victory will seal first place in their Champions League group and give them a favourable draw heading into the knockout stage.

The Catalans will also have to react domestically, facing Levante, Real Sociedad and Valencia in their next three games. Should they fail to get back on track in La Liga quickly, the narrative around Koeman’s supposed revolution will take a turn.

Featured image courtesy of Barca Blaugranes.

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