Barcelona need to become more defensive, says Koeman after Valencia draw

The Barcelona coach has suggested that his side will have to adopt a more pragmatic approach to get back in the title race.

7:53pm on Saturday 19th December 2020
Robin Bairner

Ronald Koeman has said that for his Barcelona side to progress, they may have to adopt a more defensive mindset.

The Catalans fell eight points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid on Saturday as they were held to a 2-2 draw against Valencia.

The visiting side moved into the lead but Lionel Messi converted a header from close range after missing a penalty. Ronald Araujo swept a second soon after the restart, but Barca were unable to translate their dominance into goals as Maxi Gomez levelled.

It was an outcome that left the coach to suggest his side have to become more pragmatic.

“We know that we’re a team that wants to attack, but there are certain moments when we have to defend and control the game more,” Koeman argued.

“This is the risk of playing with a lot of space in our own half, one on one against two forwards.”

Meanwhile, Koeman has not admitted defeat in the title race, despite a deficit that could be increased to 11 points should Diego Simeone’s men win a game in hand.

“That problem is not today’s game, the problem is that we have already lost four or five time in La Liga,” he said. “This draw makes it more difficult. It is not lost yet, there are many games to go.

“We are quite a few points behind, but it’s a difficult season for every team. In two months time, it could be totally different. We have to fight to reduce the difference.”

Barcelona are back in action on Tuesday, when they will face Valladolid away from home.

At full-time in their encounter, they were placed fifth in the league, though they are liable to fall back over the course of the weekend.

Barca will have no Christmas break this season and will face Eibar on 29th December before 2020 is out.

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