Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman offered a brutally honest assessment of his team’s title hopes after overseeing yet another disappointing result in La Liga.
The Catalan giants were held to a 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou on Tuesday by struggling Eibar and had to come from behind to snatch a point in the team’s final fixture of 2020.
Substitute Ousmane Dembele rescued the draw for the hosts after coming off the bench at half-time, leaving Koeman to reflect on his team’s fading titles hopes, as reported by Marca.
I’m realistic, winning the title is complicated. Nothing is impossible, but we have to recognize the distance. Atletico look very good to me. They’re very strong and they don’t concede many goals.
Diego Simeone’s side sit seven points ahead of Barcelona and have played two games less than the Catalan giants. Victory in both of those games would leave the Rojiblancos with a 13-point lead over Barca after just 15 games.
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Koeman Rues Absentees
Koeman was without several key players against Eibar due to injury including captain Lionel Messi, defenders Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto as well as teenage forward Ansu Fati.
Left-back Jordi Alba also sat out the game due to suspension, but Koeman felt his team still had enough quality to take all three points against Eibar.
I don’t want to say that we lacked experienced players. There’s a transition in the team and we have injuries too. We’re playing young players, but today we had five or six young players and players with experience too.
We missed Leo, who makes a difference, but the feeling now is that we should have won. We had chances, missed a penalty and gave away the goal, which was their only shot on target.
Barca had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the opening minutes of the game after winning a penalty when Ronald Araujo was fouled in the penalty area. However, striker Martin Braithwaite fired his effort wide of the post.
Barca ‘Need 1,000 Chances to Score’
Koeman wasn’t the only one ruing Barcelona’s draw against Eibar. Left-back Junior Firpo was handed his first La Liga start of the season in place of Alba and spoke about his team’s lack of ruthlessness in front of goal, as reported by Marca.
We need a thousand chances to score. They had one clear chance and scored. It’s the trend of the season. The games are tough and it’s all uphill. I felt good. It’s noticeable when you don’t play so often, but I always try to train to the fullest. When I get a chance I try to take advantage of it.
There’s no doubt Barca missed a cutting edge in attack. Striker Braithwaite also saw an effort chalked off for offside, while Eibar’s goal came after another defensive mistake.
It’s yet another disappointing result for Koeman’s men that leaves them looking a long way off challenging for the title. The team will aim to get back on track on Sunday at Huesca.