Barca's profligacy a worry for Koeman

BARCELONA • Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman cursed his side's wastefulness in front of goal after they drew 1-1 at Alaves on Saturday, dropping points for the fourth game in a row in La Liga.

Barca went behind before the interval when Luis Rioja pounced on a disastrous error from goalkeeper Neto following a mix-up with defender Gerard Pique.

The visitors had 25 shots at goal but managed to beat goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco only once, when Antoine Griezmann netted early in the second half almost immediately after Jota had been sent off for the hosts.

The performance was a let-down after their midweek Champions League 2-0 win at Juventus had temporarily eased the pressure, sparking more rumours about Koeman's position with Barca 12th in the table on eight points after six games.

The Dutchman could barely hide his frustration at recent results, appearing spiky as he dealt with questions from reporters about his decisions in the game and his touchline demeanour.

He said: "I'm surprised I'm being criticised for the image I gave on the touchline. I think we did everything we could from the dugout and on the pitch.

"In the last 10 minutes, we played as we needed to play. If you criticise me for how I appear on the touchline, then we might as well give up."

But he conceded he had yet to sort out the team's balance, adding: "I'm worried about our performance in attack. We don't have a problem with our attitude or concentration, we just need to be more efficient in front of goal.

"If you create that many chances and only score once, it's not good. Of course I'm worried that we've only got two points from the last 12. I think overall we played okay, I'd be more worried if we weren't creating chances.

"But we need to do better in front of goal, with the final pass, the final shot. We cannot afford to squander so many chances."

Koeman's mood was further soured after seeing La Liga champions and rivals Real Madrid go eight points clear of his side, albeit having played a game more.

Real clinched a 4-1 home win over Huesca that saw Eden Hazard, on his first start of the season, score his first goal in over a year.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2020, with the headline 'Barca's profligacy a worry for Koeman'. Print Edition | Subscribe