La Liga: Barcelona beaten 1-0 by Valladolid, with coach Gerardo Martino claiming 'we lacked what makes us Barca'

 

Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino needs to find a quick fix for whatever is ailing his team or his first season in charge at the Nou Camp is likely to end without major silverware.

Barca turned in one of their worst performances since the Argentine took over on Saturday and the shock 1-0 La Liga defeat at lowly Real Valladolid opened the way for Real Madrid to stretch their lead at the top.

Although the Catalan giants dominated possession as usual, they squandered what few genuine chances they managed to create against ultra-defensive opponents, with Lionel Messi and Neymar the main culprits.

There was more urgency in the Barca ranks in the second half but far too many passes went astray and Valladolid were comfortably able to hang on to their lead.

Barca were a shadow of the team that blazed a trail in Spain and Europe under Pep Guardiola and the club's fans will be casting envious glances towards Germany where Guardiola's new club Bayern Munich swept to another impressive win in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

“We lacked what makes us Barca,” Martino said at a news conference.

“Good elaboration in our build-up, finding spaces, breaking through on the wings and having depth,” the 51-year-old added.

“We had very few chances of actually running at goal and we almost always had to fight against 10 defenders. A good solution would have been creating more space.”

In-form Real, who are undefeated in 28 matches in all competitions since they lost to Barca in La Liga at the end of October, can open a four-point lead over Martino's side with a win at home to Levante later on Sunday.

Victory at the Bernabeu would put them three ahead of Atletico Madrid, who climbed above Spain's big two to the top of the table thanks to Saturday's 2-0 win at Celta Vigo.

Despite Saturday's performance, variously labelled “pitiful”, “shameless” and “suicidal” in the Spanish media, Barca, who are chasing a fifth La Liga title in six years, are still alive on three fronts.

They have a 2-0 lead over Manchester City ahead of Wednesday's Champions League last 16, second leg at the Nou Camp and play at Real's Bernabeu stadium in the La Liga “Clasico” in two weeks.

They will also meet their bitter rivals in the King's Cup final on April 16, when they will be seeking revenge for their defeat in the showpiece match in 2011 at the same Mestalla stadium in Valencia.

“We had to win at the Bernabeu (in La Liga) regardless,” Martino said.

“Currently we aren't at our best and we have to find our best form in order to play against teams like Real Madrid. We have 15 days to do it.”

Barca fullback Dani Alves acknowledged that Saturday's result was “very negative” but insisted he and his team mates would “fight until the end”.

“It's hard to win the league if you don't take the three points week in and week out,” the Brazil international told reporters.

“Now we don't depend on ourselves and that complicates things,” he added.

“We will never give up, we will fight until the end like we've always done. There isn't time for complaints, we have to keep on fighting.”

REUTERS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks