De Jong questions Barcelona's personality after capitulation at Celta

By Sports Desk November 06, 2021

Frenkie de Jong believes "a bit of personality" is missing at Barcelona after the Blaugrana surrendered a three-goal lead at Celta Vigo.

Iago Aspas' last-gasp strike snatched a share of the spoils for Celta in Saturday's 3-3 draw, leaving new Barca boss Xavi with plenty to ponder.

Xavi was officially appointed as Barca's new coach earlier in the day, though the legendary midfielder was not in charge at Balaidos.

That duty was left to interim coach Sergi Barjuan, who looked set to claim his first LaLiga win and snap a three-match winless streak in the top flight for Barca as they cruised into a 3-0 lead.

Ansu Fati, who then went off injured in what will be a blow to Xavi, Sergio Busquets and Memphis Depay got Barca's goals, only for Marc-Andre ter Stegen's mistake to gift Celta a way back into the game.

Aspas capitalised on that error and was on hand again to curl in a wonderful goal with the last kick of the match after Nolito had set up a grandstand finale.

Barca only mustered 40.5 per cent possession in the second half, during which they had just four attempts to Celta's 10.

One of Barca's efforts saw De Jong hit the crossbar shortly before Aspas' equaliser, but the Netherlands midfielder knows the Blaugrana were found lacking once again.

 

"I think in the second half we forgot to play football. A bit of personality is missing, I think," he told reporters. "The players are the ones who have to change, that's it.

"This game was very important to get us a little boost. This is a very big blow for us. We can fight because we have quality. It will be very difficult, but we have to continue."

Asked if Xavi is the right man to turn Barca's situation around, De Jong added: "We must see. People are excited about his arrival, and we are going to work hard."

Saturday's match saw Barca squander a three-goal advantage in a LaLiga game for the first time since January 1998, against Valencia at Camp Nou in a 4-3 defeat.

The Blaugrana sit ninth in LaLiga heading into Sunday's matches ahead of the international break, with Xavi's first game in charge set for November 20 – a derby against Espanyol.

Related items

  • Promoted Wigan hopes to lure Reggae Boy Lowe back to club Promoted Wigan hopes to lure Reggae Boy Lowe back to club

    Wigan Athletic hopes to lure Jamaica international Jamal Lowe back to the DW Stadium following the team’s return to the English Championship.

    The 27-year-old recently secured promotion to the English Premier League with AFC Bournemouth where he scored 7 goals this season.  Following the team’s return to the top flight, however, doubts have been raised surrounding the likelihood of the player getting any significant game time.

    In fact, Lowe was left out of the squad for the team's crucial promotion fixture against Nottingham Forest, which may not augur well for the future.   

    Wigan in the meantime are preparing for life back in the second tier following their promotion from League One.  Lowe was a popular figure at Wigan having made some 46 appearances between 2019 and 2020.

    Wigan could do with some reinforcements to their squad as they continue to eventually plot a return to the Premier League.

  • PSG women's head coach Olle-Nicolle suspended over alleged 'inappropriate behaviour and remarks' PSG women's head coach Olle-Nicolle suspended over alleged 'inappropriate behaviour and remarks'

    Paris Saint-Germain women's head coach Didier Olle-Nicolle has been suspended following allegations of "inappropriate behaviour and remarks".

    The French club announced in a statement on Tuesday that Olle-Nicolle will not be involved in team duties while an internal investigation takes place.

    Olle-Nicolle, 61, has been in charge since July 2021.

    "Paris Saint-Germain has been made aware of inappropriate behaviour and remarks that members of its Women's Team have been exposed to," a PSG statement read.

    "These remarks and events, if confirmed, would be incompatible with Paris Saint-Germain’s sporting and human values.

    "Paris Saint-Germain is taking this situation seriously and intends to bring to light the reported events and remarks.

    "In order to protect the interests of all parties, the coach of the Women's Team has been suspended today, in agreement with Paris Saint-Germain. 

    "This is a fair and temporary measure. It will not prejudice the internal investigation that will be undertaken, nor impact the decisions that the club may be led to take."

    PSG are second in the French top flight and host leaders Lyon, who are five points better off, in their penultimate game of the campaign on Sunday.

    They won the French Cup earlier this month and also reached the last four of the Women's Champions League, where they were eliminated by eventual champions Lyon.

  • French Open: 'He made his mark on the sport' – Federer, Djokovic and Nadal pay tribute to 'charismatic' Tsonga French Open: 'He made his mark on the sport' – Federer, Djokovic and Nadal pay tribute to 'charismatic' Tsonga

    Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have paid tribute to the "charismatic" Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after the 37-year-old brought his 18-year professional career to a close.

    Tsonga, who reached a career-high ranking of world number five in 2012, confirmed in April that he would retire at the culmination of his French Open campaign.

    That duly came in the first round on Tuesday as he bowed out to world number eight Casper Ruud 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 7-6 (7-0).

    He retires having won, according to Opta, 464 Tour-level matches since September 2004.

    Tsonga is one of just three players, along with Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro, to have beaten Nadal, Federer and Djokovic while they were ranked world number one.

    He is also one of three players, alongside Stan Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych, who have defeated Nadal, Federer and Djokovic at grand slams.

    A video tribute was played on court after his defeat to Ruud, which featured messages from the sport's most iconic players.

    Federer said: "I wanted to congratulate you on an amazing career and it was a pleasure to share the court with and play against you, even to lose against you!

    "We had some great battles. Enjoy the moment in Paris with all your friends and family, in front of all your adoring spectators."

    Djokovic added: "Jo is one of the most charismatic tennis players ever to play the game. I was very happy to share the court with him many times.

    "We get along well and he's a really nice guy. He brought a lot of positive attention and popularity to our sport not just because of his dynamic game style, but also his charisma and his personality, so it's a big loss for professional men's tennis to have him retire.

    "I wish him all the best, and he definitely should be happy about his career and his achievements. He's made his mark and his legacy in our sport."

    Nadal said: "He is very charismatic. I've known him since we were kids; he is a good guy and I think he brings a lot of positive things to our sport so I'm sad to see him going but we are getting old so it's going to happen for everyone."

    Speaking at a media conference after his defeat, Tsonga said he would now spend some time relaxing before focusing on the development of his tennis academy.

    He said he will miss the adrenaline of playing on court, as well as how he was able to express himself completely when competing.

    "It's adrenaline, to step onto a big court like this one," he said. "It's adrenaline you can feel when you have 15,000 people shouting out your name, supporting you on the court.

    "This is what I'm going to miss – the contact with the crowd. And with those who have been supporting me for all these years.

    "You know, in real life, it's sometimes difficult to be intense. You don't want to shock, you don't want to be too rude, you don't want to hurt somebody.

    "You always try to act to be nice, to be sociable. But, you know, on the court, you can express your fever. You can express everything about you, and it's sometimes freeing."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.