Koeman challenges Barca to react after PSG mauling

Koeman challenges Barca to react after PSG mauling

Ronald Koeman challenged Barcelona to react to their midweek mauling against Paris Saint-Germain and remains convinced Los Cules can cut it against the game’s biggest sides.

Barca were pummelled by a Kylian Mbappe-inspired PSG in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday, the France World Cup winner scoring a hat-trick in a 4-1 rout.

With Barca well off the pace in LaLiga and 2-0 down to Sevilla after the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final tie, Koeman and his side have faced mounting criticism in recent weeks.

The Dutchman concedes the mood was low after the PSG defeat but wants to see a response from his team against Cadiz on Sunday.

“After a defeat, it is always good to have a game later to show that we can be better and get better results,” Koeman told a pre-match news conference. 

“We have a good track record in the league in recent months and we have to continue. We accept what happened to us, but you have to react.

“The world does not end after a defeat. We must analyse the failures and improve things. 

“It is normal that the players are somewhat low emotionally after what happened. On Friday there was a lower atmosphere. 

“It is good that it is so. If it does not affect, we are not people who can be here. Today in training I have seen the group as before.”

Barca’s PSG defeat has become a familiar scenario in Europe’s grandest club competition.

Coincidentally it was a 4-0 hammering away at PSG back in 2017 that preceded the greatest comeback in Champions League history, which set the tone for their own second-leg failings against Roma and Liverpool in the following seasons.

Last season was of course halted by the coronavirus pandemic but Barca were humiliated 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the one-off quarter-final clash played in Lisbon.

Koeman has no doubts Barca can still compete in the biggest matches, though.

“It is difficult to say what we lack against the greats. They had a lot of effectiveness and that made the difference,” he added. 

“We have been close, we have had our opportunities. I do not see one team much better than another. We can beat anyone, but you have to show it in each game, and more if we do not have all the players.”

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