Tuesday, May 21, 2019 | ePaper

Barcelona expect frosty return to Camp Nou with recovery a long way off

  • Print


AFP, Valencia :
Barcelona's recovery begins against Getafe on Sunday but the pain felt from their Champions League collapse at Anfield is likely to get worse before it gets better.
For Getafe, who stand on the brink of their own meteoric upset of finishing in La Liga's top four, the game at Camp Nou is pivotal but for Barca's hurting players, it could feel more like a wake.
"There are going to be some difficult days ahead, but we have to go again," said coach Ernesto Valverde.
A week before, their fans had roared them off, ecstatic after a 3-0 victory over Liverpool put them within touching distance of their first European final since 2015.
When the names of the players, and coach, are read out before kick-off this weekend, the reaction will be instructive, pointing to just how much Tuesday's 4-0 defeat has spoiled an otherwise excellent season that could yet end with a domestic double.
"We have to be really self-critical about what happened," Luis Suarez said.
"There are a lot of things to evaluate and to think about.
"We have to apologise for our attitude and realise the criticism is going to rain down on us now. We're really upset, we're hurting a lot. We're humans and we feel the pain."
After Getafe, comes a trip to Eibar for the last league game before the Copa del Rey final against Valencia in Seville on May 25.
Win at the Benito Villamarin and there will be celebrations, history made too, but nothing now can make amends.
Like 12 months ago, two trophies will be seen as a failure and, like 12 months ago, there are reports that defeat in the cup final will see Valverde sacked.
The way Barcelona respond in these last three games will not save Valverde but, however unfairly, it could condemn him.
Any suggestion the players have stopped believing will enthuse those anxious for change. "I don't know how this affects my future," Valverde said on Tuesday. "But here we are and the coach has to take responsibility."
Patience could wear thinner too with those seen to have underperformed.
After they beat Liverpool, Lionel Messi criticised the fans for their treatment of Philippe Coutinho, who was whistled off in the second half. But Messi then was speaking from a position of strength.
Valverde made 11 changes for the defeat to Celta Vigo last weekend and could rotate again, sparing his players potential censure from the fans and offering them a longer period of recuperation.
Getafe could be the beneficiaries given Barcelona are the biggest obstacle left between them and the remarkable feat of Champions League qualification.  They play at home to 15th-placed Villarreal on the last day.
A weakened Barca would be a blow too for Valencia and Sevilla, each three points behind Getafe, and with time running out.
Valencia's head-to-head means they will finish above Getafe if they can square them on points while Marcelino's side have winnable games left, at home to Alaves on Sunday before ending with a trip to struggling Real Valladolid.
Sevilla have to finish ahead of Getafe on points while also facing a difficult trip to Atletico Madrid and then in-form Athletic Bilbao.
At the other end, two of the three relegation spots have been taken by Rayo Vallecano and Huesca but Girona, Valladolid, Levante, Villarreal and Celta Vigo could all still finish 18th.
Girona are the current incumbents but host Levante on Sunday. Valladolid travel to Rayo, Villarreal are at home to Eibar and Celta are away at Bilbao.

More News For this Category

Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo (center) is flanked by his girlfriend Georgina (left) and his mother Dolores Aveiro (right)      after winning the Serie A soccer title trophy, at the Allianz Stadium, in Turin, Italy on Sunday.

Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo (center) is flanked by his girlfriend Georgina (left) and his mother Dolores Aveiro (right) after winning the Serie A soccer title trophy, at the Allianz Stadium, in Turin, Italy on Sunday.

Mbappe wants responsibility, 'maybe at PSG, maybe elsewhere'

Mbappe wants responsibility, 'maybe at PSG, maybe elsewhere'

AFP, Paris :Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe fuelled speculation surrounding his future on Sunday, saying that he wants "responsibilities, maybe at PSG, maybe elsewhere".The 20-year-old backed up his excellent 2018

Messi hits 50 goals for Barca, Madrid ends season to forget

Messi hits 50 goals for Barca, Madrid ends season to forget

AP, Spain :Lionel Messi scored twice to hit the 50-goal mark for the sixth time in his career on Sunday while Real Madrid put a fittingly poor ending to its

Kroos pens new Real Madrid deal until 2023

Germany international Toni Kroos has extended his contract with Real Madrid until 2023 ahead of an expected summer overhaul at the club, the Spanish giants said Monday. The 29-year-old midfielder

We just wanted to win at any cost, says Farhad

We just wanted to win at any cost, says Farhad

`Bangladesh national cricket team wanted to win the final of the just-concluded tri-nation series in Ireland at any cost’, said all-rounder Farhad Reza upon his return to Dhaka after the

Kompany leaves Manchester City after 11 years

Kompany leaves Manchester City after 11 years

Vincent Kompany is leaving Manchester City after 11 years at the club.Club captain Kompany, 33, played his final game for the club in Saturday's 6-0 FA Cup final win over

Players of Olympique Lyon celebrate with the trophy after the women's soccer UEFA Champions League final match     between Olympique Lyon and FC Barcelona at the Groupama Arena in Budapest, Hungary on Saturday. Lyon defeated Barcelona by 4-1.

Players of Olympique Lyon celebrate with the trophy after the women's soccer UEFA Champions League final match between Olympique Lyon and FC Barcelona at the Groupama Arena in Budapest, Hungary on Saturday. Lyon defeated Barcelona by 4-1.

Robben and Ribery: End of an era as iconic duo depart

Robben and Ribery: End of an era as iconic duo depart

Bayern Munich marked the end of an era on Saturday, as iconic duo Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery both scored in their final Bundesliga game to secure a seventh straight

Man City complete sweep of        English trophies with FA Cup win

Man City complete sweep of English trophies with FA Cup win

AP, London :Manchester City swept aside Watford to complete the first clean sweep of English men's football trophies.The fourth piece of silverware of the season was sealed by four different

Real Salt Lake defender Justen Glad (15) grabs the wrist of Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore (17)  during an MLS soccer match in Sandy Utah on Saturday.

Real Salt Lake defender Justen Glad (15) grabs the wrist of Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore (17) during an MLS soccer match in Sandy Utah on Saturday.