Barcelona 3-4 Real Betis: Leaders stunned by expert display

Arnold Nichols
November 15, 2018

Barca last endured a league defeat at the Camp Nou against Alaves in September 2016 but, following 42 games unbeaten, their run was ended by a brilliant, counter-attacking display from Betis.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is prepared to shell out a club-record £85 million to lure Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele to Anfield.

Dembele, 21, didn't turn up for training on Thursday and it took Barca's staff 90 minutes to locate him at home, where the club said he was struggling with a stomach bug.

"We were also young and we have also committed mistakes", Pique told reporters after the match on Sunday.

Betis had squandered several chances before Junior broke the deadlock although it took an outstanding save from visiting goalkeeper Pau Lopez, formerly of Barca's neighbours Espanyol, to prevent Clement Lenglet from levelling before Joaquin made it 2-0. We lack freshness when it comes to finishing off moves and we must improve in that respect. "That's his usual trick to be late, although in his defence I'm sure he'll say: 'I'm not the only one'".

Yet the Spanish worldwide, while conceding that all their defenders all needed to improve, was also adamant that the champions' fans should not be anxious about the current frailties of the team's rearguard.

First, Ivan Rakitic was sent off, a second yellow card for a late challenge on Lo Celso, and then Sergio Canales tapped in Betis' fourth from Junior's cross.

"We know we have a problem and that we are conceding a lot of goals, more than we have conceded for a very long time", the Spanish global told reporters. "I am sure he knows that and that he will keep improving with time".

"We're all here to help him", Pique said after Sunday's surprise defeat against Real Betis. "We are very happy with how things have gone". "I think he can play, he's pretty assured, I think he'll be okay".

He was initially quizzed on the way that his team pressed the ball.

"Today, for example, we should have stopped their first goal by committing a foul".

Chelsea were apparently keen to complete a deal to sign Dembele, either in January or the summer but, if his agent is to be believed, then the former Borussia Dortmund star will not be leaving the Nou Camp any time soon. The club and Ed Woodward have a decision to make - to back Mourinho in the transfer window this winter in order to secure Champions League football and revenue next season, or to continue to flounder outside the top four. "Teams have bigger budgets, better players and they are more competitive and that's better for spectators".

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