Koeman: Barca can still win title but can’t make any more mistakes
BARCELONA – Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman still believes his side can win the title despite failing to beat La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid on Saturday but said his team must not suffer any more slip ups in its remaining three games.
The 0-0 draw at home to Atletico left Barca third in the standings, two points behind Diego Simeone’s side and level with second-placed Real Madrid, who snatched a 2-2 draw against visitors Sevilla on Sunday.
Barca can go provisionally top La Liga by winning their next game at Levante on Tuesday but Atletico and Real will have to drop points in their remaining fixtures if the Catalans are to get their hands on the trophy.
“We’re going to fight until the last moment to win La Liga. It’s no longer in our hands but we can’t commit any more errors,” Koeman told a news conference on Monday.
The Dutchman also said his side was jaded after an unforgiving season and congested fixture schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He also felt the lack of supporters was to blame for Barcelona’s lowest points total in home matches since the 2002/03 season.
“We are at our limits but so is every team, especially those who have played in Europe or got to finals. There’s been so many games and in the end they take their toll on you,” he said.
Barca reached the Champions League last 16 this season before going out to Paris St-Germain. They also played in the Copa del Rey final, beating Athletic Bilbao.
“Playing without fans also has an impact, that’s why teams have dropped so many points at home. It’s not normal to play so many games. In the end, the team that is strongest physically and mentally will win the title.”
Koeman also said he did not see all of Real’s match with Sevilla as he does not enjoy watching Barca’s title rivals play.
He said Real’s complaints about Eder Militao’s handball were nothing to do with him but expressed his sympathy over the lack of clarity on handball decisions.
“I watched the first 20 minutes of Real Madrid and then AC Milan against Juventus because watching the (Real) game made me nervous. I prefer to watch a different game and find out the result when it’s over,” he said.
“If Madrid think that they were treated unfairly then that’s their problem. All I will say is, as a coach, we’ve reached the point where we no longer know when a handball is a handball.”