Barcelona coach Luis Enrique floundered in the firing line on Wednesday after what he called a “disastrous” 4-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain left the Spanish champions on the brink of their earliest Champions League exit in a decade.
Enrique confronted a television reporter working for Catalan station TV3 after the match, while his tactics were criticised by Barca midfielder Sergio Busquets.
Barcelona sports daily Sport‘s front cover said: “This is not Barca,” while Madrid-based AS‘s headline ran “Total disaster.”
A former Real Madrid foe came back to haunt Barca as Angel di Maria scored twice, while further goals from Julian Draxler and Edison Cavani handed PSG the glorious European night they have craved since a takeover from Qatar Sports Investments six years ago.
The joint heaviest defeat in Enrique’s three seasons in charge means they face missing out on the quarterfinals for the first time since losing on away goals to Liverpool in the last 16 in 2006/07.
“It was a disastrous night for us in which we were clearly inferior,” Enrique acknowledged after the game.
“I accept responsibility, but I would also like the same respect and personal treatment in the interviews when we win,” Enrique said in a fiery interview with TV3.
Enrique’s future at the Camp Nou beyond the current campaign was already in doubt as his contract expires at the end of the season. Barcelona also trail Real Madrid in the race for the Spanish title.
And Busquets’s reaction in praising Enrique’s counterpart Unai Emery for the tactical set up that caught the Catalans cold was telling.
“It wasn’t an attitude problem, but a football one. They pressed more and were better tactically. They had a plan and carried it out as they wanted.”
Sport described Barca as a “shipwreck without a coach”.
“Barca fell in Paris without grandeur and without excuses,” continued Sport‘s editorial.
“It was a tumultuous fall, from the first minute to the last… more than an accident, it manifested itself as an aggravation of many problems, some latent and others evident, that had already been shown up throughout the season.”