BARCELONA – Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman slammed his side for losing concentration in key moments in their 2-2 draw at home to Valencia on Saturday, adding that his young team need to show more maturity.
Mouctar Diakhaby scored from a free header from a corner to put Valencia ahead, while no defender managed to pick up Maxi Gomez when he pounced to level for the visitors in the second half after Lionel Messi and Ronald Araujo had scored for Barca.
The Catalans have dropped points in seven of their 13 La Liga games and trail leaders Atletico Madrid by eight points, having played one game more.
“It was a difficult game, we turned it around but then we needed to show more concentration,” Koeman told reporters.
“We had some chances but we were not focused enough in key moments. We went out to win the game in the second half but we did not create as much as we wanted to.”
The Dutch coach was particularly annoyed with how his side failed to pick up Diakhaby for the opening goal, saying they needed to focus more on defensive organisation due to their low average height.
“We have to know how many tall plays we have to defend against tall players. He (Diakhaby) was all alone when he jumped up to score. We have to defend better and mark our opponents more. We’re smaller than most teams and we have problems at set pieces,” he said.
“We gave an inconsistent performance. We attacked when we were 2-1 up but we also need to remember to defend. We lost the ball in dangerous areas.”
The Dutch coach has put his faith in a number of young players this season such as Pedri, Oscar Mingueza, Sergino Dest and Araujo, but he said the team’s lack of experience was affecting their results.
However, he refused to rule his side out of the title race.
“The age of the players also has an influence, sometimes doubt can set in. The young players need to mature,” he said.
“We still haven’t said farewell to the title, there’s still a lot of points to play for. It’s a very difficult season but in two months everything could be different. We have to fight to get these points back.” (Reporting by Richard Martin Editing by Toby Davis)