Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has described his side’s defeat at Liverpool as a ‘nightmare that will last for a long time’.
In a wide-ranging interview with El Pais, the experienced central defender spoke about the season, his personal performance and his belief in Coach Ernesto Valverde.
“Anfield was a nightmare that will last for a long time,” Pique reflected in the interview.
“When something like this happens, everything or almost everything has gone wrong. I think that on a mental level, some people were affected by what happened in Rome because it happened very recently.
“After the first goal, which was very fast, unconsciously you see the image of Rome. Then two more came very quickly and it looked too much like what happened a year ago. Surely it was a mental block, but the football (we usually play) was also missing.
“We made a lot of errors and they pressed very high, very intense, Anfield also played its role and we were not able to cope - sometimes this happens.
“It was a very hard game and it has been hard to get up emotionally because the days passed and you did not forget about the defeat. It is a pain that will last over time. But we must take a step forward.
“But equally, we must not torture ourselves. Yes, that is one of our great defeats. But that's the sport, where sometimes you have to bite the dust.
“It was a nightmare and you have to assume that it can happen again. But we must understand why it happened and allow this to help us in the future because we want to win the Champions League again.
“Ernesto Valverde’s future? That is not my job (to discuss this) because Valverde is my boss and he is the one who decides if he selects me or not so it does not make sense for me to talk about this.
“But I can talk about the excellent management he has done with the group in these two years, how it has helped us improve tactically and in the titles we have won.
“We hope to add (another title) with the Copa final. There are some poor results and that's obvious. Of course, you could always play better and of course Anfield hurt a lot. But I think we would always take winning La Liga and maybe the Copa too.
“My personal performances? Of course it has been a very good season in which I have played almost every game, I’m better physically as I’m not in the national team. In addition, I have not had injuries and I felt very good because I have not played a game with discomfort when I have done other years.
“But I want to highlight other seasons that were sensational. Because in the years that the treble is achieved, for example, we all reach a level that borders on perfection in both the collective and individual.
“Am I a better player? Well, maybe different. As the years go by, age will have an important role in my game no matter how much I go to the nutritionist and the gym. But I do believe that I have improved in things because experience helps in making decisions.
“More responsibility and criticism? This is inevitable. I feel and hurt every goal we concede. Because 90% are because of errors. And, although it is not that I am directly involved, I am the one that more time has been in the defense and perhaps could have avoided it with my knowledge. Yes, I notice it, I notice it.”