September 22, 2019 / 12:39 AM / 2 months ago

Valverde worried by Barca's limp away form after Granada defeat

GRANADA (Reuters) - Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said he was concerned about the team’s away form after they were comprehensively beaten 2-0 by promoted Granada on Saturday and he took full responsibility for the club’s worst start to a La Liga season in 25 years.

Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Granada v FC Barcelona - Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes, Granada, Spain - September 21, 2019 Granada's Victor Diaz in action with Barcelona's Anssumane Fati REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo

Granada got off to a flying start when Ramon Azeez headed them in front in the second minute while Alvaro Vadillo scored from the penalty spot midway through the second half to seal the points, taking the Andalusian minnows to the top of the league.

“I’m worried because away from home we’re not getting good results. No wins from four away games this season is a clear symptom that we are not in a very good situation,” Valverde told reporters.

“Some of our players joined the squad late but we did not play well today and we have not been playing well away from home lately. We dominated the play but couldn’t manage to create many chances and we never looked like getting back into the game.”

Valverde left all-time top scorer Lionel Messi out of the starting line-up as the Argentine is still not fully fit after recovering from a calf injury he sustained in August which has prevented him from starting any games.

The coach called on his captain at halftime along with 16-year-old Ansu Fati, who had scored and provided an assist on his full debut in last week’s 5-2 drubbing of Valencia, but neither player was able to bring the team to life.

Barca are seventh in the table on seven points, their lowest total after five games since the 1994/95 campaign.

They have not won an away game in any competition since April.

Valverde also said he was concerned about Barca’s poor defence as he was reminded they were the only team in La Liga along with Real Betis to have conceded nine goals this season, and recognised that as coach he was to blame for their plight.

“It’s clearly not a very good statistic for us and not in line with what we have been doing in the last few years,” he said.

“The players are the actors, but in the end the coach is the one who is responsible for what happens. You can always lose a game but when you do you should feel that you deserved to win but that was not the case today.”

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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