Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and midfielder Frenkie de Jong are refusing to give up on the league title despite Thursday’s damaging 2-1 defeat to Granada at the Camp Nou.
A victory for the hosts would have seen Barca move top of the table with just five games left to play but instead Ronald Koeman’s men remain in third place behind leaders Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid in second.
De Jong spoke to Barca TV after the match and urged his teammates to go on and win their last five games of the season, starting on Sunday against Valencia at Mestalla. He said, “Yes of course it’s [the title] still possible. There are four teams that are really close. We need to win the five games that are left and then at the end we will see.”
Goalkeeper Ter Stegen also offered an upbeat message on social media after Thursday’s disappointment. He wrote, “Disappointing result for us today. It’s not in our hands anymore but we’ll fight until the very end.”
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Barcelona Players ‘Feel Terrible’ After Defeat
Left-back Jordi Alba also spoke to reporters after the match and admitted his teammates were feeling terrible after letting slip a 1-0 lead and going down 2-1 to Granada.
Barca had looked set for victory when captain Lionel Messi opened the scoring but the team was undone by a sloppy second-half performance. Alba admitted the result was a big blow for the Catalan giants, as reported by Marca.
“We feel terrible, we weren’t at our best in the second half and they scored two goals with two chances. There are five games left, we have to try ad win those five. Now it’s not down to us. We have to win them and hope,” he said. “This is a big blow for us. This was a unique opportunity to go to the top of the table. We have let the game get away from us.”
Meanwhile, it’s a first-ever win at the Camp Nou for Granada. The Andalusians had previously lost every single match they had played at Barcelona’s famous stadium.
Koeman Reacts to Barcelona Defeat
Thursday’s match also saw coach Ronald Koeman sent off in the second half and means the Dutchman may now be suspended from the touchline for Barca’s next games against Valencia and Atletico Madrid.
The Barcelona boss blamed a lack of concentration for his team’s defeat, particularly in the backline, as reported by Marca.
“Our concentration in defense wasn’t as good in the second half. We created chances to score, especially at 1-0, but we lost our concentration,” he said. “That’s why we lost, and they closed us down well. We have to accept that we lost, but we’re disappointed because this was a big opportunity.”
Yet Koeman is also refusing to throw in the towel and urged his players to bounce back next time out against Valencia. He added, “Now we have to be ready for Sunday. We’ve got five games left and everyone has a tough run-in. We have to win all five games to be champions.”
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