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Koeman defends Spanish football level after European defeats

Koeman defends Spanish football level after European defeats

FILE PHOTO: Copa del Rey - Semi Final First Leg - Sevilla v FC Barcelona - Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Seville, Spain - February 10, 2021 Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman reacts REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo

BARCELONA: Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman says it is too early to talk of a decline in Spanish football after his side were thrashed 4-1 at home to Paris St Germain in the Champions League last week and Sevilla were beaten 3-2 by visiting Borussia Dortmund.

Spanish clubs won six of 10 Champions League titles in the last decade but last week's results, particularly Barca's collapse to PSG six months after losing 8-2 to Bayern Munich, have led to discussions about the country's soccer decline.

"This is an isolated moment that can be put down to a number of reasons," Koeman said ahead of Barcelona's La Liga fixture at home to Cadiz on Sunday.

"It's too easy to deduce that (Spanish football is declining). Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid still need to play (their Champions League last-16 first leg games) and we can't be making conclusions like that."

Atleti host Chelsea and Real visit Atalanta next week.

After experiencing a dip in morale following their resounding defeat by PSG, Barca turn their attentions to looking for an eighth consecutive league win when they host Cadiz, and Koeman said the players were ready to respond.

"The world does not end after one defeat. We have to analyse our mistakes and try to improve things, we need to talk and train," he said.

"We lost a lot of balls, and we need to play with more intensity. I hope they (Barca's players) come out strong from this and can win the game to recover our confidence. The best thing after a defeat is having another game to get a good result.

"We are on a good run and we're still ambitious. We know what happened and we have to react."

Barca are third with 46 points from 22 games, nine adrift of Atletico and three behind Real, who have played a game more.

Koeman also dismissed suggestions of a lack of unity in the team after Gerard Pique was heard arguing with Antoine Griezmann during the PSG loss.

"There's a lot of emotion during a game and it's good that the players react and don't accept things if they're not happy with how we're playing," he said.

"I have no problem with things like that happening in a game, I like it. You have to do everything to try to win a game, I don't want my players to be quiet."

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Source: Reuters

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