Barcelona defender Gerard Pique managed to find some positives despite seeing his team beaten 3-0 by Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday.
It’s a comprehensive defeat for the Catalan giants in their opening group-stage fixture, but Pique remains convinced his team can still compete in Europe’s top competition this season, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.
“Playing at home, it is a bad result, we are not going to fool ourselves. But if you look at the game, I think that in the first half we have competed, they have gone ahead with a deflected goal,” he said. “In the second, the 0-2 hurts us, but in the end I don’t know how many 18-year-olds came on and the team has competed and has shown their face. Now we are who we are, we are what we are, but I am convinced that as we recover players, we will end up competing.”
Thomas Muller opened the scoring for Bayern on 34 minutes before Robert Lewandowski scored twice in the second half to wrap up all three points for the visitors.
Pique, who returned from injury and played all 90 minutes at the Camp Nou, also pointed to the players Barca currently has out injured and soon to return as reason for optimism going forwards.
He added, “We have people like Ansu, like Ousmane, like Kun … now we are not favorites, but football changes very fast, last season nobody was going to give Chelsea as favorites.”
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Pique Defends Sergi Roberto
Pique also took time out to defend teammate Sergi Roberto. The versatile 29-year-old was whistle by some sections of the home support when he was replaced in the second half by teenager Yusuf Demir.
Roberto’s versatility means he is frequently used at right-back and wing-back as well as his preferred position in midfield, and Pique feels he did not deserve the treatment he received from supporters.
“The whistles to Sergi Roberto hurt me a lot because I know the person and he is a spectacular human being, I would like to remind people that he is not a winger, he makes the sacrifice to play in that position,” he said. “People are free to express themselves….but personally, it hurts a lot.”
Barcelona Youth Offers Hope
There’s no doubt that Tuesday’s result is a sobering one for Barcelona and coach Ronald Koeman and shows how much work the club has to do to reach the level of Bayern Munich.
One reason for hope is the amount of exciting young players Koeman has at his disposal. The Dutchman brought on Gavi, Demir, Oscar Mingueza, and Alejandro Balde in the second half to end the game with a very youthful XI, as shown by ESPN’s Samuel Marsden.
Yet it’s still an uncomfortable night for Koeman with Barca failing to register a single shot on target, according to Opta. It’s also three defeats in a row at home in the Champions League under Koeman at a ground that had previously been a fortress for so long in Europe.
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