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Piqué: “We have no choice but to keep fighting and working”

Frenkie de Jong of Barcelona dejected after Luis Suarez of Atletico Madrid scored / Jose Breton / NurPhoto via Getty Images

FC Barcelona lost 2-0 to Atlético Madrid on Saturday after conceding first-half goals from Thomas Lemar and former Barça striker Luis Suárez. Manager Ronald Koeman, center back Gerard Piqué, center back Ronald Araújo, and midfielder Gavi spoke to the media following the match.

Here is was Koeman had to say:

On the loss to Atléti

“We have deserved more, but as almost always the matches are decided at times. We have not taken advantage of the opportunities. In the goals, we have left many spaces, and in the first goal we have not marked Lemar. From the middle of the field you must continue your marking. This cannot be accepted.”

On the team’s injured players

“When the injured are recovered, we will improve. They are different from what we have. We lack depth, Memphis is low. We have to open the field. Against Atlético it is important to open the field because it is not easy to create opportunities, and if you have two or three, you have to score.”

On President Joan Laporta’s support of him as manager

“It is never too late to clarify things. It is important to clarify the path you want. Without me as a coach or not. He has done it and it is important because you cannot work if it is not in that sense.”

“Well done on his part. If you are not clear about it, it is difficult to work and have peace and patience. For everyone it is the best. We know how it will be from today onwards. But it is normal that results are demanded.”

“It was good because there was no clarity in that sense. We spoke last night and this morning about the team, about the club, about my topic. I have asked the club for clarity, for its part, to leave clarity on the coach. It is important that it is known, that the dressing room knows what there is. That it makes it clear to everyone what there is. But I know that this is Barça and you have to win games. It is normal. That pressure exists for any coach. at any level. Especially Barça. The president has spoken with his people and made that decision, so perfect.”

On what has happened in the past 24 hours regarding the manager role

“That is a question for the president. I have already given my version of how I see things. I am hopeful and confident to improve. We lack players who are different from what we have. We play with midfielders on the wing right now. We have not been able to play to what we want. We seek the maximum with what we have.”

On what worries him the most following the game

“Two things. You can’t leave so much space when you lose the ball. We talked about that exactly before the game. If we play with four defenders and two center backs with markings, you have to follow your midfield marking. Nico follows him. It may be that now you understand why we have sometimes played with three center-backs. This is hard to accept because later, with 1-0, they can play their game. We know that with everything available it is already very difficult to make chances because they defend very well. It’s difficult to create. We have had one or two very clear [chances],and you have to score them.”

On the upcoming games

“I don’t know. It’s complicated. After the break we have three home games. Valencia, Dynamo Kiev, and Real Madrid. I have high hopes because they give us two weeks. We have not risked with Alba today to have him in two weeks. Hopefully Ansu is here better in these two weeks. Hopefully Kun and Dembélé are close to coming back. They are quality players, different, that we need. We also have to correct mistakes. We have left a lot of spaces and that cannot be.”

Here is what Piqué had to say

On the game and Atléti’s goals

“We have started well, and we have gone to look for them. We have been brave, but their goals have been two identical plays in which they have scored two goals with very little. And we could be playing football for three hours and we would not score a goal. It’s difficult. We are suffering, I’ll be honest. We have no choice but to keep fighting and working. We have to disconnect and come back with more strength.”

On arguing with Sergio Busquets following Lemar’s opening goal

“We had already talked about it, that they bite with Lemar and had superiority. Ronald came out and no one went with him. It is a set of the game in which we comment on the plays.”

On the problems within the squad and the team’s relationship with one another

“There are several problems that people already perceive. You don’t have to be blind to see what we lack, but despite this I think we will recover from it. We have not experienced it before, many of them that we are here in the squad, but the relationship between the players is very good. The youngsters and the veterans go together, and there is a desire to turn the situation around.”

On his thoughts about Laporta’s support of Koeman

“The players cannot get involved. We pay attention to the coach’s instructions. There is little we can do about ourselves. Go out onto the field and try to do our best. In the noise between the president and coach we are not going to get involved. The dressing room is really looking forward to it, but it has not gone well for us.”

Here is what Araújo said:

On Saturday’s loss

“I am very sad about the defeat. The moment is not good and it is a pity that I have to experience this because I think the squad is good, with young people of a high level. I hope to turn this situation around.”

“I think we played a good game, but there are things that we have to correct because we are in the elite.”

On the international break being a positive for the club

“I hope that the coming break will help us to think, even though many of us go with the national teams. We have to work hard on everything and on the way back there will be games to give joy to the fans that are always supporting us.”

Here is what Gavi had to say:

On receiving a call up to the Spanish national team

“I celebrated it with the residents of La Masia and with my family.”

“I did not believe about the selection. I’m happy for the selection, but now screwed up by the defeat.”

On where it went wrong for Barça in the match

“We were playing well until 1-0, then we dropped a bit, but we had a couple of occasions that could have change the game if we managed to score.”

On his style of play and recent form

“I always try to play as I know how, with the personality that I have, and I will continue to do so.”

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