Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde was left blaming a ferocious atmosphere at Roma’s Olympic Stadium and Roma’s physicality as reasons behind his side’s surprise elimination. But he ultimately put the blame on himself; “the coach is the one who has to take responsibility”; Velverde said.
Barca won the reverse fixture 4-1 at Camp Nou last week, but surprisingly lost 3-0 in Rome on Tuesday night, crashing out on the away-goal rule.
“We couldn’t play our game, they were very aggressive,” said Valverde. “We weren’t capable of getting back into the game any moment because of how well they played.
“They were very strong at getting to the second ball and we aren’t used to defending like that. They were aggressive and took the game where they wanted it.
“The coach is the one who has to take responsibility, as the visible head of the team, and that is what it is.”
Meanwhile, Barca midfielder Sergio Busquets who played through injury says the Catalan’s Champions League humiliation by Roma was the worst night of his career at the club.
And when asked if this was worst night as a Barca player, he replied;
“Yes, probably yes,” said Busquets
“We came from a very positive dynamic this season and today, sadly, everything has been cut short.
“We still have to go for all the titles (La Liga and the Copa del Rey), it wouldn’t be a bad season, but it will be conditioned by what we did here today in Rome.”
Barcelona captain, Andres Iniesta may have played his last Champions League match for the Catalans as he look likely to join a Chinese club next season. He admits the result was as painful as it was a surprise.
“This is a painful defeat because we didn’t expect it because of the advantage we had,” said Iniesta.
“It’s a possibility [that this is my last game in the competition], but it’s not the day to send messages, we are all hurt.
“It’s not a question of asking forgiveness [from fans], things go for you or they don’t, but the need to win is always the same. We will give our best for two competitions that remain.”
Barca returns to La Liga action this weekend against Valencia who are third on the table.