Barcelona’s lead at the top of the LaLiga table is in danger as they suffered their first defeat under newly appointed manager Quique Setien. The Catalans lost 2-0 to Valencia at the Mestalla despite Ter Stegen saving a penalty from Maxi Gomez.
Before this match, Valencia had won only once against Barcelona in the last 10 meetings in all competitions. Valencia won the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona last season, while their last win in LaLiga goes back to February 2007.
Maxi Gomez failed to convert the penalty but he made up for it as his shot took a deflection of Jordi Alba and found the back of the net. He then scored the all-important second goal with a clinical finish beyond Ter Stegen at the end of a Valencia counter-attack in the 77th minute.
The Barcelona fans had a huge expectation from Setien to see the old Barcelona back. But sadly, the results speak differently. Though Barcelona had lots of possession, they were toothless in the final third.
Quique Setien said: “They [Barcelona players] still do not interpret [instructions] well or maybe we do not explain them well. Nobody likes what we have seen today. Valencia compromised us, they closed us down well. Positionally, there are things that we have to correct. We have given away many aimless passes. We do not work to do this.”
“In the first half, we did not play well at all. The best thing was that we went into half-time at 0-0. In the second half, the team improved somewhat and we were able to get into the game, but this is not enough for us.”
He further added: “It was not a problem of attitude. I have seen how committed they are. We were not well-positioned, we have not understood some things, while Valencia have raised the game. It has cost us.”
Sergio Busquets also agreed that Barcelona need some time to adjust to Setien’s tactics. He said: “I think the players have to adapt to the coaching staff’s ideas. There were good things in this game and others that need to be improved.”
It’s obvious, Quique Setien does need some time to get the squad acquainted with his tactics and style of play. But sadly, they are in the middle of a season and not playing in a pre-season tournament. This loss can affect Barcelona’s claim of retaining the LaLiga. Real Madrid will play Real Valladolid later tonight and they can go three points clear of Barcelona in the league table.
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