Barcelona’s new normal was exposed last night after their chastisement in the Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich.
Forced into a new era without Lionel Messi this season after his shocking departure, the pressure is mounting on boss Ronald Koeman and supporters are growing frustrated.
Their woes were even summed up by the fact that for the first time in their league history, they failed to get a single shot on target.
Barcelona have been criticized after their defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League
Thomas Muller’s strike and Robert Lewandowski’s brace gave the visitors a comfortable win at Camp Nou, and they were rarely threatened.
The under-fired Koeman pointed to the worn-out nature of his squad at full-time, and entered into a partnership with Memphis Depay with Luuk de Jong.
Both attackers struggled to impress, however, with Depay, who got off to a flying start this campaign, unable to replicate his magic.
Pressure on Ronald Koeman mounts after his team failed to collect a shot on target
As a result, Koeman had to lament his lack of current options and was open to admit that Bayern are now a ‘better team’.
“Of course we would have liked to compete better, but there is a difference in their quality as a team” [and ours]said Koeman.
‘There was also a big difference between the banks. We have a lot of players with a great future, but right now we need players back from injuries.”
He added: “We started well, but we had problems moving forward. We were unlucky with the first goal and from their second goal it was very difficult.
Gerard Pique admitted ‘this is where we are’ after the loss in a worrying sign to supporters
“At the moment they are a better team than us.
‘Here we are now. Jordi Alba was sick last night and still playing. This was Luuk De Jong’s first game.
“Alba was very tired and we didn’t want to risk him playing the whole game.”
Gerard Pique gave an equally bleak assessment of Barcelona’s status, admitting ‘we are what we are’ but chose to focus on the rare positives.
Memphis Depay was in the front with Luuk de Jong but could not make an impact
“Playing at home, it’s a bad result, we’re not going to kid ourselves,” he said.
“But if you look at the game, I think we battled in the first half, they continued with a deflected goal.
“In the end I don’t know how many 18 year olds we had and the team participated and showed their faces.
“Now we are who we are, we are what we are, but I am convinced that if we get players back, we will eventually compete.
Clinical Robert Lewandowski scored twice at the Nou Camp to pile the misery on Barcelona
‘We have people like Ansu [Fati]like Ousmane [Dembele], such as Kun [Aguero].
“Now we are not favourites, but football is changing very quickly. Last season nobody saw Chelsea as a favourite.’
The press in Spain seems to disagree, however, after labeling Barcelona as ‘bad’ and ‘weak’ in the wake of their underpowered display.
Marca’s front page shows a photo of Lewandowski and Muller, the two goalscorers, sharing a high-five – and their headline reads ‘Poor Barcelona’.
Marca’s front page reads ‘poor Barcelona’ and hosts tear up after their defeat
AS also opted for a shot from the in-form Lewandowski, although this time the striker Pique is seemingly comforting. The headline is ‘Another bath’.
This points to yet another poor result for Barcelona against Bayern, which were hailed as ‘another step above’ their opponents.
Mundo Deportivo, meanwhile, shows a photo of Marc-Andre ter Stegen conceding one of the three goals, accompanied by Pique’s words: ‘This is what there is’.
The hosts were laughed at for being ‘impotent’, while Bayern showed their ‘superiority’ in the victory that gave them the lead of the group.
AS says ‘another bath’, referring to yet another damaging result for Barcelona against Bayern
Mundo Deportivo includes Gerard Pique’s comments on how ‘this is what there is’ for Barcelona
Barcelona must now suffer three consecutive defeats at home in European competition for the first time in their history, in yet another coveted first.
A banner reading ‘Koeman Out’ was displayed before kick-off, a clear sign of growing discontent among the fan base, but it was removed by club staff.
There were also hoots at Sergi Roberto from parts of the 40,000-strong crowd, leaving Pique feeling ‘upset’.
“The whistles to Sergi Roberto are painful,” he said after the game.
Sergi Roberto was booed by parts of the home crowd, leaving Pique feeling ‘very hurt’
“I want to remind people that he is a midfielder, not a winger. He made a sacrifice to adapt to that position on the pitch.
‘People are free to express themselves, but I don’t like the whistles, they don’t help.
“I know the person, he is a spectacular human being and he wants more than anything for the success of this club. This bothers me a lot.’