Luis Suarez believes under-fire Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde was not to blame for the team’s Supercopa de Espana collapse against Atletico Madrid.
Barca were stunned 3-2 by Atletico in the Supercopa semi-final, conceding two late goals to sensationally lose in Saudi Arabia on Thursday.
Goals from Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann cancelled out Koke’s 46th-minute opener until Barca shipped twice in the final nine minutes as Atletico earned a showdown with Real Madrid.
The result plunged Valverde’s future further into doubt but star forward Suarez defended the 55-year-old.
“[Valverde] is not to blame, the mistakes were ours and we can’t make them,” Suarez said post-match.
“I do not know if they are defeats that help us grow, [but] this defeat shows that there are things to correct.
“It shows us that there are mistakes that cannot be committed because we were in control of the game and we have allowed them to hit us on the counter-attack.”
Griezmann, who scored for the first time against his former club, was frustrated after the match as the Barca forward lamented the side’s errors.
“I think we lost due to our own errors and they had the legs at the end,” Griezmann said. “It cost us and we have to work hard in order to continue.
“We all made errors. I played a bad pass and then their goal arrived. They are errors which can cost you a Champions League or a league title.”
Messi perhaps cut the most frustrated figure post-match claiming his side were guilty of “childish mistakes” late in the game.
Despite that anger however, the Argentine called for fans to remain behind Barca and their manager.
“We will keep working and trying to improve, now we will have more days to prepare for the next game, we have to improve a lot and despite the fact that we have not been playing well we will try to get our play back,” Messi said.
“It is normal when there are defeats and we don’t achieve our goals, the fans see that their team isn’t playing as they would like, as we would like, it is normal for them to speak out but we have to be more together than ever.
“It is a difficult situation because we let slip a title that we wanted to win but we have to look forward.”