Gerard Pique calls for stability at Barcelona and says team CAN challenge for LaLiga title after 0-0 draw at Cadiz…as defender warns club against sacking Ronald Koeman even after no wins in three games
- Barcelona’s Gerard Pique said club needed to stay calm after 0-0 draw at Cadiz
- He appeared to warn against sacking under-fire coach Ronald Koeman
- ‘It is of no help to the team if there is no unity,’ said the veteran defender
- Frenkie de Jong was sent off at Cadiz while Memphis Depay missed three sitters
- Pique also lashed out at LaLiga organisers over Barca’s hectic schedule
Gerard Pique called for calm after Barcelona dropped two more points in the Spanish title race, insisting the team can compete for the league this season.
His comments came after Barcelona’s 0-0 draw with Cadiz, and before coach Ronald Koeman insisted the players are still working hard for him.
Pique said: ‘We’ve had a change of president and changes of coaches recently and what we need is stability. We have to all pull in the same direction. It is of no help to the team if there is no unity.’
Gerard Pique shows his frustration during Barca’s 0-0 draw at Cadiz in LaLiga on Thursday
Pique called for unity at Barcelona after the team failed to win a third consecutive match
Barcelona’s spirit showed after going down to 10-men and that attitude was echoed by Pique who complained about fixture scheduling that had left Barcelona playing twice in the same midweek.
‘I don’t know who arranges the fixtures but I don’t understand why we had to play Monday and then again on Thursday,’ he said. ‘We have five games with 12 days to rest. It’s not a complaint but I hope the league look at it.’
Of the 0-0 draw he said: ‘No one would have taken a draw but then it depends on the context and with 10 men everything changed. We competed with a player less. We don’t like not winning and we urgently needed the win but I’m proud of the way the team played.
Frenkie de Jong was sent off for Barca and Pique said ‘With 10 men everything changed’
Barcelona were livid with referee Carlos del Cerro Grande after De Jong was sent off
‘I’m here to win and I’m convinced that we are competing. It’s difficult for everyone but I’m sure we will win on Sunday and that we are going to compete until the end.’
Koeman added: ‘I’m happy with the point. We were better than them until the sending off then we had more problems. We had the clearer chances with Memphis but we couldn’t take them.
‘The feeling I have with the team is very good and the players showed today that we are working hard. We are missing things up front but the attitude tonight was very good.’
Barcelona will not have Koeman in his technical area Sunday against Levante after his red card late on but Barcelona sporting director Ramon Planas confirmed he would still be in charge.
Earlier Laporta had confirmed Koeman would not be sacked if he lost to Cadiz. The Barcelona president said: ‘Koeman’s future does not depend on tonight’s outcome. We are with the coach. He is the coach of the Barça first team and what we want is for things to go well for him.’
Laporta even defended Koeman’s decision to read out a statement at his pre-match press conference on Wednesday saying: ‘He is obliged to attend the press conference and is free to respond (to questions) or express himself however he wants to.’
Pique appeared to warn Barcelona against sacking Ronald Koeman (left) despite poor results
Koeman was sent off at the end of the game for arguing with the referee from the touchline
But he attacked the tone of the coach’s message which spoke about finishing high up the table instead of regaining the Spanish title.
Laporta said: ‘What I don’t like is defeatism. We cannot allow that at Barcelona. We have a team that can aspire to win the League and the players tell me that. We have to be optimistic. We have to work and fight every day, because I believe that is how we will be successful with less talking and more doing and more working.’
Everyone that spoke for the club after the draw echoed the same sentiment that the league title is still the target. Planes confirmed that there is some good news for Koeman. Ansu Fati is close to fitness and could feature at the weekend.
Joan Laporta is backing Koeman for now but said he did not like the coach’s ‘defeatist attitude’