During the first half, Koeman got all the demons out when he saw how Atlético beat his team on the run – especially Carrasco on the left side – unhappy at having to yell at a cell phone and not at his players. It turns out that the appeal that Barça raised against the TAD (Court of Arbitration for Sports) did not succeed and the coach had to complete his second game in the stands for telling the referee of the duel against Granada “what a character”. And since the regulations dictate that he could not communicate with anyone on the bench or the field directly, he took refuge in his mobile and in an interlocutor who later passed the orders to Alfred Schreuder, second on board. Done the law done the snare. But at Atlético there is no trap that catches him offside, a team that closed the corridors from the inside and blurred the Barça attack with the exception of Messi. A blow for the culers, who are two points behind Atlético – and three points from Madrid if they beat Sevilla – and they see the title slip away from them.
“Atlético is the rival that, defensively, can be the best in the League. It costs, it costs to generate chances. And you have to take advantage of the clear ones ”, lamented Gerard Piqué, almost always the spokesman for the team when they come badly. “A very sober rival,” acknowledged Schreuder, who also had to make an appearance at the press conference because Koeman did not have the time. A very clear one was from Messi after a sensational slalom and perhaps the other was one that did not forge because Lenglet took the ball from Araujo when he was preparing to finish off a cross. “I’m still thinking about that play because he was going in very lonely. But it was a very fast action and it did not give to communicate. A pity because it could be a goal, the victory, the three points … ”, said the center-back, who replaced Mingueza after the intermission and signed an impeccable duel. “And he is 21 years old,” said Schreuder, who wanted to highlight Barça’s youth and their sense of competitiveness. “You have to look at the midfield, with De Jong, who is 23, Pedri 18 and Ilaix as well. We are seeing a new Barça ”. Although he also made it clear that he preferred to have seen Ilaix later, who entered through Busquets, who became dizzy after a head clash with Savic, so he went immediately to the hospital, as indicated in the medical protocol. “Busi’s injury has left us a bit affected because while he was there, we had the duel under control. When he left, everything got a little out of control ”, admitted the Barça coach.
Barcelona was unable to beat Atlético and a competitive league becomes extremely entangled. “We expected to win. But we are still alive, I believe that we have competed and that we have played a good game and had more chances and clearer… It could not be, ”Piqué lamented. “I’m disappointed with the draw,” added Schreuder; “Because in the second half we were better than them over us in the first.” Araujo intervened: “We wanted to win the three points to fight for the League. But you have to continue. Mathematically, we have chances; we are Barça and we are going to fight it. There are three games left and everyone is fighting for important things ”.
Barcelona does not throw in the towel. “Of course there are chances of winning the title. We must keep winning and we’ll see what happens in the end ”, Schreuder resolved, pragmatist; “But we are there, we are still there.” Piqué saw it as similar: “We don’t depend on us, but having seen what we’ve seen, there’s a lot left. Anything can happen, it is totally open. It costs to maintain regularity and that we have 77 points indicates the equality of the League. I don’t have a crystal ball, but if we win all three, I still have options ”. This is how Araujo saw it: “We have a good team, we are going to fight until the end in a League that was far away and now we managed to keep it close.”
But it is difficult to sing the alirón without beating direct rivals. Well, Emilio Alzamora – he won the 125cc World Championship without winning a single race – there is only one.