Football: Barcelona 'forgot to play' in second half, says critical de Jong

Celta de Vigo's players celebrate after scoring the equaliser as dejected Barcelona players react. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

VIGO (REUTERS) - Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong was fiercely critical of his side as they let slip a three-goal lead from the first half to draw 3-3 away to Celta Vigo in LaLiga on Saturday (Nov 6).

Barca produced one of their best displays of a torrid season in the first half and took a 3-0 lead into halftime thanks to goals from Ansu Fati, Sergio Busquets and Memphis Depay.

But their good work was undone after the break and a goal from Nolito and two from Iago Aspas, the equaliser deep in added time, pulled off a tremendous comeback for Celta while deepening Barca's woes on the day they announced club great Xavi Hernandez would take over as coach from Monday.

"I think in the second half we forgot to play, we were very passive and we lacked character," Dutchman De Jong told reporters.

"This was a very important game for us to climb a little higher in the table and the result is a very big blow for us."

Xavi has two weeks to prepare for his first game in charge against city rivals Espanyol after ending a six-year spell as player and then coach with Qatari side Al-Sadd to return to Barca, where he played 767 games and won eight LaLiga titles as well as four Champions League crowns.

"We'll have to see how it goes, the fans are very excited about it and the players are going to work very hard," added De Jong.

As well as a galling result which left the team without a league win in four games, Barca lost Eric Garcia, Ansu Fati and Nico to injury, leaving them with a total of 11 stricken players.

Caretaker coach Sergi Barjuan said the team urgently needed to look at the problem.

"It's very strange and it would be good to find out why and ensure it doesn't keep happening," he said.

"We have a lot of problems with injuries and while it isn't an excuse, it's very important for the future."

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