In what was Sergi Barjuan’s last match in charge of the first team, FC Barcelona only managed to win a point in Balaidos, even after being up by three goals after the first half. The interim coach spoke to the press next to the Dutch pair of Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay.
After the first half, nobody could guess what was about to happen in the second. In what was possibly one of the finest performances from Barça this season, the fans saw three brilliant goals by Ansu Fati, Sergio Busquets, and Memphis Depay. A complete breakdown followed, as Barça let their guard down, collapsed, and let Celta Vigo score three to tie the result. The final blow came in the absolute last second, as Iago Aspas, Barça‘s (and Ter Stegen‘s) infamous tormentor, aimed his final shot on target in the 96th minute and beat the German for the second time today.
As was to be expected, nobody from the away team was pleased with the outcome. Frenkie de Jong spoke to the press right after the match:
“I think we forgot how to play football in the second half. We are missing personality. The players are the ones who need to change, that‘s it.”
“This game was very important to climb up the table. It is a big blow for us. We can still fight for the title because we do have the quality. It will be very difficult, but we have to continue.”
Words on Xavi coming in: “We will see. The fans are excited and we are going to work hard.”
On refereeing and talking to Hernández Hernández: “When we are behind on the scoreboard, they usually add 2 or 3 minutes, but today they added 5 and then another one because of a throw-in. I never saw this before.”
His Dutch compatriot, Memphis Depay, was in a similar mood after the match finished:
“It‘s hard to explain. I am angry and frustrated. In the first half, we played well and worked hard to get the result we wanted. They changed their approach in the second half, we stopped pressing and lost control of the match. 45 minutes is not enough. We played well, but it does not matter because we only did it for 45 minutes. We have to be on the level for 90 or 95 minutes like today.”
On his injured teammates: “I play a lot and try to keep in a good condition so that I do not get injured. It is certainly difficult with so many of the teammates out injured, but this is the current situation to deal with.”
On expectations of Xavi coming in: “I do not know him. He has experience on the highest level of football. It is important to speak with him first.”
Sergi Barjuan did not hold back in his answers to the media:
“Everything went wrong for us today, we had to make three changes due to injuries and we completely altered the structure of our team. We did not know how to position ourselves in the second half.”
“I am not searching for excuses. But when you are forced to make three substitutions, all due to injuries, you have to change the whole system. That has an influence on the performances on the pitch. We retreated too far back, we did not press and the positioning was bad.”
On Frenkie de Jong and his assessment of a lack of personality: “When things do not go as planned, you always look for excuses in order to improve for the future. We have to learn from what happened today.”
“The club will provide a medical report on the injured players.“
On his time as a first-team coach: “It is not all nice after today, but I am happy. I think I have tried well to convey technical and tactical information to the players. Xavi has a strong template to work on. If all the players are healthy, he can compete with anyone. That is the most important thing. A coach is limited when he has no resources. I am happy with my contribution.”
On Coutinho warming up and not coming on: “The team demanded a lot from me. I tried for every player to get something from me. I made the final decision on who played and who did not.”
This match concluded Barjuan‘s tenure as a first-team coach, with Xavi being presented on Monday and taking over during the international break. He will debut against Espanyol two weeks from now.