BARCELONA

Sergi Roberto defiant in response to Koeman's top four comments

Sergi Roberto was clearly frustrated after Barcelona's limp 0-0 draw at Cádiz on Sunday, but he expects the team to turn things around and challenge for the LaLiga title.

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Ronald Koeman surprised everyone on Wednesday. Amid serious uncertainty over his future, the under-fire coach entered Wednesday’s press conference ahead of Barcelona’s game against Cádiz, read a brief press statement and left, fielding no questions from reporters. 

In his statement, Koeman revealed that the club’s prime objective was to finish in the top four, perhaps a realistic goal in the first season of the post-Messi era, for a team still coming to terms with the loss of the Argentine superstar.

But after the disappointing 0-0 draw at Cádiz, an almost inexcusable result even for a Messi-less Barça, Sergi Roberto was defiant when asked about Koeman’s comments in the post-game interview.

“Here you have to win LaLiga. For me it’s not worth finishing in the top four. We are Barça and this is no excuse. We have to do our best and we have a squad to fight for LaLiga,” said the 29-year-old midfielder, one of the leaders in the Camp Nou dressing room.

Barcelona will get better - Sergi Roberto

Leaders Real Madrid now hold a seven point lead over seventh-placed Barcelona, although El Blaugrana have played one game less and indeed still have time to turn things around, as Sergi Roberto expects them to do.

“We have to step up now and start winning. We are coming from a run of bad results. We all have to push each other, in every position in the team,” he said. “We have to start winning now because if we keep slipping up, it will be difficult. We are on a bad streak but I think we will move on and get better.”

Ronald Koeman's looks on during the Cádiz-Barcelona game.

Sergio Roberto: “We have to be more united than ever”

Sergi Roberto also gave his take on the 0-0 draw with Cádiz, which saw Frenkie De Jong sent off in the 65th minute on a frustrating night for Barcelona.

“Unfortunately, we have been left with a few less. I haven't seen the replay but for me it didn’t seem like a red card for Frenkie,” he said. “We have had some clear chances, but they have also had some.”

Asked how he was feeling following the whistles from fans at Camp Nou during the 1-1 draw with Granada on Monday, the Barcelona midfielder replied: “I am happy with myself. That’s what counts. Give one hundred percent in training and in games. We have to be more united than ever. But this team will succeed.”

Next up for Sergi Roberto and his Barcelona teammates is Levante on Sunday at Camp Nou, where anything less than a win would surely be the final straw for Koeman, provided the Dutchman is still in the job in two days’ time.