Ronald Koeman says Barcelona’s title chances are ‘very difficult’
Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman admitted that the path to regaining La Liga appears very difficult for his charges after dropping more points at home to Eibar on Tuesday.
Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman admitted that the path to regaining La Liga appears “very difficult” for his charges after dropping more points at home to Eibar on Tuesday.
The Catalans were held to a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou and remain in sixth place, seven points shy of joint-leaders Real and Atletico Madrid.
Indeed, it could have been an even worse end to a forgettable 2020 for Barca had Ousmane Dembele not swooped to equalise following Kike Garcia’s opener, after Martin Braithwaite had missed from the penalty spot.
Koeman’s charges have won just seven of their opening 15 Liga games, their worst start since 2003; and the coach recognises that the title is already disappearing over the horizon.
“I am realistic, it will be very difficult to be champions,” the Dutchman told reporters after the final whistle.
“Nothing is impossible, but you have to acknowledge the gap. Atletico look very good to me, very strong, they don’t concede many goals.”
Tuesday’s setback took place without Lionel Messi, who watched from the stands as his team-mates toiled.
“You cannot say Barca play better without Messi. He is a different player,” Koeman admitted, while insisting that his team could have taken all three points against the Basques.
“In general terms we played well. But individual errors cost us the points.
“We deserved to win, we did what was needed. [Eibar] only had one shot on goal.
“We created chances, but we didn’t score the penalty and then a defensive error… we played well, we worked hard and did enough to win, but this is happening to us far too often.
“In the first half we had problems playing the ball out from the back, we weren’t looking for players between the lines… maybe because we were scared of risking too much up front. Once again we played a game with a lot of chances but we didn’t convert them.
“If we had gone in front (with the penalty), the team would have been more confident, but you have to put the ball in the net.”
Barca return to action in 2021, with their first game of the New Year falling on Sunday away to Huesca.