Koeman: Barça did not lose because of the referee

Captain Leo Messi during the game. (Source: Getty Images)

Barça’s title hopes were dealt a tough blow after losing 2-1 to Real Madrid away at the Estadio Alfredo di Stéfano tonight. Ronald Koeman, Sergi Roberto, and Óscar Mingueza spoke of the team’s performance, as well as the VAR controversy after the game.

Here is what Ronald Koeman had to say:

On the referee’s performance
“It was a penalty, it was very clear. Once again we have to accept it and shut up. And only adding four minutes in a game like this, when the referee spent 3 minutes fixing his shoulder? The penalty was very clear, and I’m shocked that VAR did not intervene. Everyone thinks the penalty was clear.”

On the team’s plan
“It is easier to defend when you have many players behind the ball. We tried to attack and take risks, but we did not defend well in the first half. There were times where we lacked depth in attack, we have several players who like to have the ball. We can improve in 1v1 duels, in the final pass. To create danger, we must improve.”

On the reason the team lost
“Barça did not lose because of the referee. In the first half, we were not good and we left them lots of spaces to counterattack. But also, there are clear plays that have to be reviewed by VAR. This is why we have VAR, because the referee cannot see everything.”

If he had any further comments on the refereeing
“It is better that I don’t opine more about the referee. I have already said what I have to say. I always want to defend my team and my club, so I don’t want to say more about this topic.”

On the dressing room’s mental state
“The players are sad because of the penalty decision. There are players here who have been here for many years and I don’t know if they feel that once again they have been cheated out of a correct decision. I will have to ask them about that.”

On Real Madrid
“They are a great opponent, who defend very well. We now have a week to prepare for another tough opponent (Athletic Club in the Copa del Rey final).”

On their title chances
“I am still optimistic that we can win the league, we have demonstrated that we fight. We lost a game against a direct competitor for the title but there are still eight matchdays to go.”

Here is what Sergi Roberto had to say:

On the feelings the team leaves the game with
“We tried until the end. They were very tight defensively, especially in the first half. We had the bad luck of the post in the last play. It was a shame because a draw was not a bad result for us.”

On the weather
“You can’t control the rain and the wind.”

On the team’s title chances
“LaLiga is very tight. It was very important to win for us, but it couldn’t be. LaLiga will be played until the end.”

On the team’s efforts
“We scored the goal with thirty minutes to go. We have tried tirelessly.”

On the Braithwaite penalty appeal
“He touches him, another thing is if the contact is enough or not. What surprised me is that he quickly said that it was nothing and did not even want to go look at the VAR.”

Here is what Óscar Mingueza had to say:

On his goal
“The goal achieves nothing if we don’t go on to win the game, but I am very happy with the response of the team, that we tried until the end. It’s a loss that hurts, but we have to keep going.”

On Barça’s title chances
“There are still many games to go in LaLiga, and there is the Copa del Rey final. We will try to accumulate the maximum number of points from these games.”