‘Feyenoord were just out of their depth’
ROTTERDAM: Feyenoord’s Champions League return after an absence of 15 years was something of a shock, coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst said while bemoaning the difference in quality after Wednesday’s 3-0 thrashing by Manchester City. He admitted his side were largely out of their depth. – Reuters BARCELONA have emerged from a cloud of pessimism to make a perfect start to their La Liga campaign and travel to Getafe tomorrow looking to stretch their advantage over Real Madrid, whose early optimism has been dampened.
A pall of gloom hung over the Catalans in the close season following the departure of Neymar to Paris St Germain and other failures in the transfer market, leading club members to sign a petition of no confidence against the club president. Yet their off the pitch problems have seemingly had no effect on their performances.
Three wins from three has put them top of the table and with a fourpoint advantage over rivals Real, who have stumbled with two draws in their last two games in the absence of the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo.
Barca, fresh from Tuesday’s emphatic 3-0 Champions League victory over Juventus, will have the chance provisionally to move seven points clear of Real and Atletico Madrid and coach Ernesto Valverde has indicated he will give game time to fringe players.
“Up to now some players have played more than others but everyone will get their chance,” Valverde said.
“I picked the best set of lads to get the job done against Juve and I’ll see who I think the best are for Getafe.”
Spanish and European champions Real Madrid began the campaign by winning the continental and Spanish Super Cups to firmly establish themselves as the country’s dominant force, but their last two league results have brought them down to earth.
They travel to highflying Real Sociedad in Sunday’s late kick off without the suspended duo of left back Marcelo and Ronaldo, who serves the final match of a fivegame domestic ban for pushing a referee.