The Blaugrana were brought down by an acrobatic effort from 38-year-old Aritz Aduriz in the dying minutes of the game.
Barcelona succumbed to a defeat at the hands of Atheltic Bilbao in their La Liga opener. In a game that saw Barcelona miss Lionel Messi due to an injury and were forced to substitute Luis Suarez out very early in the game, Barcelona lacked the attacking threat.
Ernesto Valverde was left disappointed by his forwards who found life difficult without the main orchestrator of the attack, Lionel Messi. The team, with Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann, could register just one shot on target throughout the game, as Athletic Bilbao put forward a wall in front of the Barcelona forwards.
Valverde wanted more from the club’s most recent French acquisition as Griezmann kept on waiting for the right ball that never arrived. Valverde wants his player to be involved more in the game.
“If he lives close to the box he can finish, he moves well, but you have to dominate the game for that to happen. Putting him on the left we knew that he will look for goal, but we have a left-back and players who can take the game. (However) we expect a lot from all the players and he has to look to get in the game more,” Valverde said in the press conference.
The manager also spoke about the Uruguayan forward who had to be substituted out of the game. Suarez was replaced by Brazilian Rafinha and the Brazilian was the only spark in the Barcelona attack.
Valverde pointed out the lack of finishers as the reason for the defeat. He said, “Luis has a problem with the calf and his injury set us back because in the second half we spent a lot of time in Athletic’s box and lacked finishers there.”
Barcelona, as aforementioned, missed their main orchestrator of the attack and his manager wishes his team adapts to playing well even in the absence of the Argentine forward.
He said, “It’s true we’re used to playing in a way and Leo shines in a lot of situations because he beats a man or filters a pass through. We’re not all like him and we have to learn to cope when he’s not there. It’s inevitable to miss him, but we need to do other things too. We have to transform possession into goal chances, that’s what counts.”