It was a sobering Sunday evening for Barcelona, after they dropped all three points away to Almeria. The Blaugrana are now just seven points clear of Real Madrid, even though Los Blancos could only manage a draw in the Madrid derby. The message coming out of the dressing room after the match was unanimous – they did not approach the game with the right mindset.
Speaking to Sport after the match, Frenkie de Jong admitted that this had come as a shock to Barcelona.
“We are very disappointed, because we had the opportunity to leave Madrid ten points behind. We did not expect to lose this match.”
“They were very good defensively. We have put a lot of crosses in the second half. We have to do better and create more danger. We haven’t thought about the Clasico, because the League is very important. Things haven’t worked out, especially in the first half.”
He signalled that the attitude was the issue.
“You have to learn that we always have to be very focused. We have not started the game well, the rival has gone ahead on the scoreboard and then it gets complicated.”
A feeling shared by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
“The feeling is that we could have done something more, especially in the first half. In the second half there is nothing to say about the attitude. In the first we came into it with more difficulty. They have defended their area very well and did not allow us to arrive with danger.”
The German feels that their tie with RealMadrid is an opportunity to turn things around rather than a problem for Barcelona though.
“It’s a defeat that always hurts, that never comes at a good time, but we’re going to calm down. It’s important to recharge our batteries for Thursday. We’re looking ahead and we’re going to get what we want. The match against Real Madrid could be a good opportunity to make that change.”
“More than a warning, we should have done our homework and we haven’t. We have to be self-critical to see where we have failed and see what we have to improve for the next games.”
Central defender Eric Garcia was similarly critical of his side’s attitude in the first half.
“In the first half we had neither rhythm nor intensity. In the second we looked for the goal, but they accumulated many players in their area and it was impossible.”
“The Clasico has not distracted us. We just haven’t come out with enough intensity. There’s no more to it. We knew that they were going to close things off at the back and that they have very fast players on the counter, but the problem was more ours.”
Such a widespread fall in concentration will have to be a worry for Xavi Hernandez, who was furious after the match. Barcelona have looked leggy of late, and in the absence of Pedri, lacking in invention too.