After the final whistle was blown at Camp Nou, Gerard Piqué gave his thoughts on the game to pitchside reporter Ricardo Sierra. He seemed a little worried. One of the good things about Piqué, one of his most defining traits perhaps, is that he doesn’t know how to hide his feelings, nor does he even try to. If the team puts in a similar, listless performance against Olympique Lyon on Tuesday, they’ll be punished. Piqué appeared concerned. Barça are guests of Lyon on Tuesday in the Champions League - a competition that doesn’t give you the chance to nod off even for a second. Later, Guillermo Amor softened Pique's comments when he chatted about the match to Mónica Marchante. Amor is spokesman precisely because he does know how to play things down. But it’s clear that there is concern. Barça are stuck in a rut.
Messi scores one and misses one from the spot
They claimed all three points though – even if they didn’t play brilliantly. A solitary goal, from a dubious penalty settled it. Fair enough, Barça were given a second, legitimate penalty which Masip saved – and that wasn’t the only save which the keeper, who gained his education in La Masia, made last night. He’s a good keeper, a typical grafter who never gets the credit which other, more gifted – or more fortunate players receive, but he does the job he is paid to do. Had Barça managed to score another goal to make up for that questionable spot-kick, maybe they might have felt a little better about themselves. But a second goal didn’t come and the slim result they took reflected the meagre display Barça gave on the field. Furthermore, this time, it wasn’t because they were without Messi.
Improvement after the break
That was because Messi had a decent second half – particularly when Luis Suárez came on for Boateng, whose place in the Barça attack is difficult to understand. Messi, as I say, played well during the last half hour of the game but he seemed isolated among the array of wayward passes and his best forays forward were ruined by the imprecision of his team mates. Including Luis Suárez, whose blunders were as bad as Boateng’s. The game settled but lacked edge because Valladolid found themselves up against a slow and imprecise Barça. That made for a por game and and an even poorer result.