WHAT AILS BARCA? Coach, Play­ers Wor­ried By Team’s Poor Away Form Af­ter Granada De­feat

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Sport -

Madrid: Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said he was con­cerned about the team’s away form af­ter they were com­pre­hen­sively beaten 2-0 by pro­moted Granada on Satur­day and he took full re­spon­si­bil­ity for the club’s worst start to a La Liga sea­son in 25 years.

Granada got off to a fly­ing start when Ra­mon Azeez headed them in front in the sec­ond minute while Al­varo Vadillo scored from the penalty spot mid­way through the sec­ond half to seal the points, tak­ing the An­dalu­sian min­nows to the top of the league.

“I’m wor­ried be­cause away from home we’re not get­ting good re­sults. No wins from four away games this sea­son is a clear symp­tom that we are not in a very good sit­u­a­tion,” Valverde told re­porters.

“Some of our play­ers joined the squad late but we did not play well to­day and we have not been play­ing well away f rom home l ately. We dom­i­nated the play but couldn’t man­age to cre­ate many chances and we never looked like get­ting back into the game.”

Valverde left all-time top scorer Lionel Messi out of the start­ing lineup as the Ar­gen­tine is still not fully fit af­ter recovering from a calf in­jury he sus­tained in Au­gust which has pre­vented him from start­ing any games.

The coach called on his cap­tain at half­time along with 16-year-old Ansu Fati, who had scored and pro­vided an Com­ing off two straight sea­sons in the sec­ond divi­sion, Granada hadn’t beaten Barcelona in the league since 2014. They had lost six straight matches against the Cata­lan club.

It’s a wor­ry­ing de­feat, a de­feat that hurts. We have a tough year ahead of us. What we have to look at is the way we’re per­form­ing on the road, be­cause the lack of cut­ting edge and chances is wor­ry­ing.”

— Luis Suarez

“Clearly not a very good statis­tic for us (Barca the only team in Liga along with Betis to have con­ceded 9 goals this sea­son) and not in line with what we have been do­ing in the last few years. Play­ers are the ac­tors, but in the end the coach is re­spon­si­ble.” — Valverde

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