Atletico lost to Levante on Saturday, and as such, Barcelona could have narrowed the gap to six points with a win.
Barcelona failed to narrow the gap with Atletico
Ronald Koeman was undermined because his Barcelona side could not capitalise on Atlético Madrid’s defeat after drawing 1-1 home to Cadiz on Sunday. Los Rojiblancos lost to Levante on Saturday, and as such, Barcelona could have narrowed the gap to six points with a win. Instead, conceding a late penalty to Cadiz, they are eight points behind. “It’s a shame, this kind of game has to be won, but we didn’t do that,” Koeman later lamented. “It is a great opportunity, lost after the Atlético Madrid defeat. It is a big disappointment. I am very disappointed, more so than last Tuesday when Barcelona lost to Paris Saint-Germain. We couldn’t let two points slip away, and we’re disappointed. I wouldn’t say I like to blame the players individually. We were not up to the attack task, and we must defend ourselves differently. We should have won in terms of quality.”
The team struggled to create chances against Cadiz
Barcelona led 1-0 for most of the game after Lionel Messi converted the penalty in the 32nd minute. But their inability to add to this is something that frustrates Koeman. “The problem is that the scoreline was very close, and they could equalise at any time, as happened,” the Dutchman noted. “You leave them a chance to equalise in the last few minutes. If you don’t kill the game and don’t score the second, they can always score. We struggled to create chances because they were deep, and there was no space. We lacked freshness, so we have to analyse what happened in the penalty Cadiz won late on, the whole game, to see how it happened.”
Regarding the late penalty that Cadiz was awarded following a challenge from Clement Lenglet, Koeman doubts whether the referee should have given it. “I saw the images quickly, and I think it’s questionable, but it’s possible to whistle,” he said. “I don’t know if the defender, Lenglet, should risk going for the ball. Maybe not.” Despite this setback, and they suffered against Sevilla and PSG in the Copa del Rey and Champions League, respectively, the Barcelona coach remains defiant. “We can still do something. There is no team that wins matches easily,” stated Koeman. “But we have to admit that we cannot miss opportunities like we do today.”