Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has explained why he made a triple substitution at half-time of his team’s 1-1 draw with Alaves on Saturday in La Liga.
The Catalan giants went in at the break 1-0 down after Luis Rioja had pounced on a poor mistake from Barcelona goalkeeper Neto to put the hosts in the lead at Mendizorrotza.
Koeman reacted by hauling off Clement Lenglet, Sergio Busquets, and Ousmane Dembele at half-time and bringing on Miralem Pjanic, Pedri, and Francisco Trincao. The changes saw midfielder Frenkie de Jong once again drop into defense alongside Gerard Pique.
The Barca boss was asked after the match about his decision to make three changes so early in the game and explained the reason for making his triple switch.
I wasn’t happy with our first half. In the beginning, we had three good chances, and we had some yellow cards. I did the three changes because I wasn’t happy with the first-half performance.
We gave a big present to Alaves so that they can score the first goal and then it’s always difficult. But the second half was much better than the first, higher rhythm of the game, and then the same as Wednesday, we need to score more goals. If you create so many good chances and you score only one that’s not good.
Barca managed to level the match in the second half after Alaves had been reduced to 10 men when Jota picked up a second yellow card. Antoine Griezmann equalized with a neat finish after pouncing on a loose ball.
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Barcelona Lose Winning Habit
Saturday’s result leaves Barcelona with just eight points from their first six La Liga games of the 2020-21 season and without a win in their last four games in the Spanish top flight.
Barcelona have now not won any of their last four LaLiga games for the first time in over two years.
Another gameweek in the bottom half of the table for Ronald Koeman's Barca. https://t.co/ygkeR2P3xE
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 31, 2020
The results will put pressure on Koeman even though he only took charge of the club in August after replacing Quique Setien. Barca’s next La Liga outing is on Saturday against Real Betis before Spanish football pauses for an international break.
The Catalan giants are in action before then when they host Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League. Koeman’s men have won both games in Europe’s top competition so far, against Ferencvaros and Juventus, and top Group G by three points.
Griezmann Calls For Better Finishing
Koeman’s comments about Barcelona’s finishing were echoed by Griezmann after the game. The Frenchman revealed his frustration at the full-time whistle and urged his team to improve, as reported by Sport.
I am angry, because we wanted to take three points after the last defeat. There is still a lot to improve and we have to work to go back to the next game and try to win. We had many chances and only scored one and we have to improve in all aspects. We are failing a lot, I am the first. I try to work to improve. The season is very long and we are going to improve for sure.
Griezmann’s goal against Alaves was his first of the season, and he will be hoping he has now rediscovered his goalscoring touch after a disappointing start to the new campaign for Barca.