Koeman: Barca draw with Cadiz more disappointing than PSG thrashing

By Sports Desk February 21, 2021

Ronald Koeman described Barcelona's failure to beat Cadiz as more disappointing than their Champions League humiliation at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain.

Barca followed up their 4-1 home defeat to PSG in the last 16 first-leg clash on Tuesday with a 1-1 draw in LaLiga against relegation-threatened Cadiz.

Lionel Messi marked his record 506th LaLiga game for the club with a 32nd-minute penalty, but Alex Fernandez levelled from the spot late on after Clement Lenglet was adjudged to have fouled Ruben Sobrino.

The draw meant Barca missed the chance to pull within six points of league leaders Atletico Madrid, who were beaten at home by Levante on Saturday.

"It is disappointing," Koeman said. "These types of games have to be won and we did not.

"It was a great opportunity lost after the loss of Atletico. I am very disappointed, more so than on Tuesday.

"We could not afford to let two points get away. I don't like to blame individual players but we were not up to the task offensively and we have to defend differently. For our quality, we had to win.

"The lead was very narrow and they could equalise at any time, which is what happened. You leave the door open for them to draw at the end if you don't kill the game and score the second.

"It was difficult for us to create opportunities because they were behind the ball and there was no space. We lacked freshness in attack."

Barcelona have failed to keep a clean sheet in eight successive games across all competitions for the first time since 2015.

Despite their issues at the back and the eight-point gap to the summit, Koeman is not giving up hope of Barca posing a serious challenge to Atletico.

"We can still do something," he added. "There is no team that wins games easily.

"But we must recognise that opportunities like this cannot be missed anymore. I don't think it is unforgivable, but it was an opportunity to close the gap.

"[The league] is not more complicated than before. No team is unbeatable, nor are they going to win every game. There are still options. But we have dropped two important points."

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: Real Madrid ready to go all out for Haaland and Mbappe Rumour Has It: Real Madrid ready to go all out for Haaland and Mbappe

    The futures of Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe, arguably the two most sought-after players in world football, could be determined by the end of the January transfer window.

    While the forwards look set to stay at Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain respectively this month, moves away at the end of the campaign look increasingly likely.

    And despite intense competition from fellow heavyweight clubs, Real Madrid are determined to win the race for both players.

     

    TOP STORY – MADRID TO PUT ASIDE €350m FOR HAALAND

    Madrid had two bids knocked back for Mbappe last year but, according to Marca, they remain in pole position to sign the France international in six months' time.

    Landing Haaland could prove to be a little more complicated, though, given he will still have two years to run on his contract at the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

    However, the Spanish publication reports that Madrid are willing to spend big on the prolific striker, who is thought to have a €75million release clause in his deal.

    On top of triggering that, it is claimed that Los Blancos will have to set aside cash for Haaland's father, agent Mino Raiola and a hefty salary for the player himself, which could total around €350m.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Madrid may be considered the frontrunners to sign Mbappe and Haaland, but they already have a back-up plan in place should either of those moves fail to materialise. According to El Nacional, Fiorentina's in-demand Dusan Vlahovic is also on the Spanish giants' radar.

    - CalcioMercato reports that Milan have joined the queue to sign Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen. Christensen, who comes out of contract at the end of this season, is being chased by Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.

    - Newcastle United could beat Manchester United in the race for RB Leipzig's Amadou Haidara, with The Mirror reporting that the newly-rich Magpies are set to make an offer.

    - The Everton board got together on Saturday to discuss manager Rafael Benitez's future in the job, according to Sky Sports. Everton have won one of their past 13 league games and lost to bottom club Norwich City 2-1 on Saturday.

    - PSG, Bayern and Madrid are among Kalvin Phillips' suitors. El Nacional reports that Leeds United have a battle on their hands fending off interest in the midfielder, who has been capped 19 times by England.

    - The Mirror reports that Chelsea are considering a move for Inter's Ivan Perisic. The Blues are in the market for a versatile player who can play at left-back while Ben Chilwell recovers from a long-term injury.

  • Allegri calls for young Juventus side to improve their understanding in games Allegri calls for young Juventus side to improve their understanding in games

    Massimiliano Allegri warned that his Juventus players sometimes become too relaxed as he implored for improvements after defeating Udinese.

    Goals from Paulo Dybala and Weston McKennie saw Juve claim a 2-0 triumph on Saturday, lifting fifth-placed Juve onto the same points as Atalanta, who occupy the last Champions League qualification spot.

    Atalanta do have two games in hand, however, as the race for the final place in Europe's premier competition hots up.

    Despite Juve's victory, Allegri outlined his reasons for frustration with some parts of the performance at the Allianz Stadium.

    "We held out mentally and technically for 120 minutes on Wednesday, but there was a moment tonight when we just left the game," Allegri told Sky Sport Italia.

    "That's not right, we always have to be fully focused, especially when there aren't enough fans to keep us on our toes, because for 10 minutes we ran some big risks.

    "The thing we absolutely cannot do without is intensity, tempo and aggression, because if we don't drop the intensity level, then we don't get distracted and can make our technique count.

    "I looked at the line-up, we had Matthijs de Ligt born in 1999, [Dejan] Kulusevski 2000, [Moise] Kean 2000, [Luca] Pellegrini 1999, the oldest was [Juan] Cuadrado and the others all between 20 and 23 years old. 

    "You can lack some experience and understanding in those moments of when to hold off and when to control it."

    Allegri assured, though, that with experience will come the understanding of how to control such moments in any given fixture.

    "We made a mistake in the second half, thinking we were relaxed and in charge, so we drifted out of the game. It's not about finding a leader, it's about the general maturity as a whole," he said.

    "You need experience in every profession, nobody is born knowing everything.

    "We need patience. I did get very angry at that moment, but I talked to them afterwards and tried to make them understand. The important thing is they understand quickly and it has to be done on an individual level, whether they are at Juventus or elsewhere."

    Juve are next in Serie A action on Sunday when they travel to face Milan.

  • 'Juve don't play good football' – Dybala expresses frustration as contract issue rumbles on 'Juve don't play good football' – Dybala expresses frustration as contract issue rumbles on

    Paulo Dybala said Juventus "don't play good football" after refusing to celebrate his goal in Saturday's 2-0 Serie A win over Udinese.

    Dybala's future is in doubt as the Argentina forward's contract expires at the end of the season and the 28-year-old has been linked with a move to Serie A rivals Inter.

    He did not celebrate his opener in the victory at the Allianz Stadium, instead glaring intensely towards the stands.

    Asked if that was a signal to the club's directors over contract negotiations, Dybala dryly told Sky Sport Italia: "I invited a friend and couldn't see him. There are many people up there watching and I couldn’t find him."

    After being asked if he was telling the truth, Dybala responded: "I don't know, that's up to you. There have been a lot of stories, and many things happened that I prefer not to talk about."

    The result stretched Juve's unbeaten streak to eight games – only Inter have a longer run (12) – while they moved level on points with fourth-placed Atalanta as they chase a Champions League qualification spot.

    Since the start of November, Juve have gained 26 points in Serie A – more than any other side in this period, although Inter (25) and Atalanta (22) have played two fewer games.

    Dybala was less than complementary about Juve's playing style, though, and said they need to focus on working harder than their opponents during the closing months of the season.

    "I think we played well. We must try to be more consistent after scoring goals, as too often we score and then start to defend more, become afraid of attacking, and we can't keep doing that," he added.

    "We are Juventus, of course we are in the running for the Champions League spots and must try to win. We don't play good football; that is not our strength, so we need to focus on hunger and trying to run harder than anyone else."

    Juve are next in action on Tuesday when they host Sampdoria in the last 16 of the Coppa Italia. 

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.