Barcelona has “hit rock bottom” after the humiliating defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champion League quarter finals, the Spanish side’s defender Gerard Pique said.
The Catalan club were thrashed 8-2 in a one-sided match and had no answers to the German team’s energetic high-press tactics.
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Not even captain Lionel Messi, one of the best footballers in the world, could save Barcelona at the end of a season in which he has seemed increasingly agitated by the disarray.
“It’s a disastrous result,” Pique said after Friday’s loss dumped the five-time winners out of the tournament.
“An embarrassment, that’s the word. We have hit rock bottom.”
This was a night of utter misery in Lisbon in the pandemic-enforced single-game reformatting of a knockout stage that has never a seen a team lose so heavily in the Champions League era.
If it wasn’t embarrassing enough, Barcelona had to watch Philippe Coutinho, on loan to Bayern Munich from Barcelona, inflict the final blows and make the collapse all the more painful.
The German champions were already cruising into the semifinals with a 5-2 lead when Coutinho was sent on for the final 15 minutes.
The Brazilian found time for an assist – pinging the ball to the head of the unmarked Robert Lewandowski – and then to score twice himself against a goalkeeper he knows so well.
The defeat was the heaviest Barcelona have suffered in Europe and puts more pressure on the club’s hierarchy.
“We need new blood,” Pique said, without discussing specifics. “There need to be changes at all levels.”
Quique Setien, who was hired in January to replace Ernesto Valverde, knows Pique’s assessment will resonate across the club.
“I’ve been here for just a few months,” he said. “If Gerard says that it’s time for big changes there’s going to be importance to his words. It’s time for us to review and take the decisions which are needed for the future.”
A future that probably won’t include Setien after accepting his “credibility” had been further diminished.
“Some decisions were already taken, and others will be taken as a result of this,” Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu said.
“From next week they’ll be worked through. Right now isn’t the time to make knee-jerk decisions, it’s time to think.”
The players were spared having to face any abuse from supporters in public due to the pandemic restricting access to the Lisbon stadiums. But on social media their feelings were there for all to see.
I can tell u whose fault it is Myles:
Josep maria bartomeu and sandro rosell. pic.twitter.com/lg8XIPrQ4V
— Marcillescas (@marcillescas7) August 14, 2020
Time for a great team to take some tough decisions and rebuild. #Barcelona
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) August 15, 2020
I watched the worse Barcelona game yesterday, can't even sleep because of the humiliation I witnessed.
— Justice (@abubdeco) August 14, 2020
Apparently Barcelona fans aren’t eating breakfast this morning because they 8 – 2 much last night😅🤭
— Masego (@Masego) August 15, 2020