MADRID, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) — FC Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman on Tuesday said he remained optimistic about his side’s chances of winning the La Liga title despite dropping two vital points at home to Cadiz on Sunday.
That draw, which came after a needless last-minute penalty committed by Clement Lenglet, left Barca in fourth place in La Liga, eight points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid, five behind Real Madrid and one point behind Sevilla, who leapfrogged over Barca with a 2-0 win away to Osasuna on Monday night.
Speaking to the press ahead of Wednesday’s rescheduled game against struggling Elche, Koeman insisted Barca can win the league.
“I still think we can fight for the title,” he said, although he admitted any title hopes rested on beating Elche and Saturday’s trip to Sevilla.
“It will depend on the two games to come, which are very important to fight for the championship,” commented the Barca coach, who called on his players to cut out expensive individual errors.
“They have cost us points and that might be because we have been nervous when we are only one goal up, which means we don’t play as calmly as we should and we have missed opportunities to score goals,” admitted Koeman.
He was asked about the lack of leadership on the pitch, with some players letting their heads drop at key moments, but rejected that was a problem.
“I think we have leaders and captains in the team. We have (Gerard) Pique at the back and although Sergi Roberto is injured, (Jordi) Alba is also experienced and (Sergio) Busquets is in midfield and with Leo (Messi) I think we have sufficient personality.”
“These are players with quality and character who have won a lot and it’s important they show the way ahead to the youngsters,” he concluded.
Elche will travel to Barcelona after winning their first game since October last Saturday as Fran Escriba returned as coach.
The side from the southeast of Spain is currently third from bottom in the table, but has two games in hand over the teams above and would escape the relegation zone if they can claim a point in the Camp Nou.