Barcelona duo Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba were overhead engaged in a telling chat after Saturday night’s costly defeat to Real Madrid in La Liga.
The Catalan giants went down 2-1 at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium in a result that sends Los Blancos back to the top of the table in Spain and one point ahead of Ronald Koeman’s side.
Barcelona returns to action on Saturday in the final of the Copa del Rey but the defeat seems to have left Alba worried about missing out on another title, according to Deportes Cuatro.
The two players were overheard discussing the cup final after returning to Barcelona with Pique doing his best to reassure his teammate.
Deportes Cuatro recorded this conversation yesterday when the squad arrived to Barcelona:
Piqué: “We’ll win this cup, for sure.”
Alba: “I don’t know.”
Alba: “I’m just saying, I don’t know.” pic.twitter.com/rGTSs8XPYC
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) April 11, 2021
Barcelona has beaten Athletic twice in La Liga this season but tasted defeat at the hands of the Basque side in the final of the Spanish Super Cup in January. It’s also worth mentioning that Athletic was beaten in the final of the delayed 2019-20 Copa del Rey final just two weeks ago by local rivals Real Sociedad.
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Pique Rages After Clasico Defeat
Pique appears to have calmed down after being left furious by Saturday’s defeat. The center-back did not feature in the match but came onto the pitch after the full-time whistle to remonstrate with match official Gil Manzano.
The former Spain international also had a brief encounter with Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric, according to Marca.
“You’re waiting for the referee to complain, eh?” Modric asked Pique as he came on to the pitch and complained about only four minutes of stoppage time being added. “How many more do you want?” responded Modric while also throwing his arms into the air in disbelief.
Pique was angered as Manzano had technical problems in the second half which resulted in the game being stopped for several minutes, while both teams also made a rash of substitutions.
Barca piled on the pressure in the closing minutes in search of an equalizer and came close to scoring late on through substitute Ilaix Moriba who hit the crossbar with virtually the last kick of the match.
Another Big Test For Koeman
There’s no doubt that the Clasico defeat is a big blow for Barcelona and the players and coach Ronald Koeman need to respond quickly with another big game on the horizon against Athletic.
Koeman will also be under scrutiny after tasting disappointment in yet another key fixture. The Dutch coach has now lost twice to Real Madrid in La Liga in 2020-21 and has also seen his side beaten by Atletico Madrid.
Defeats to Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League and January’s Spanish Super Cup final defeat to Athletic means there will be a fair bit of pressure on Koeman heading into the final in Seville.
A victory against Athletic would be a big boost and deliver Koeman his first silverware as Barcelona boss. However, defeat will raise more questions over his suitability for the job and will undoubtedly fuel speculation over whether he will remain in charge at the Camp Nou next season.
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