MIAMI – There’s a first time for everything. Even a 4-1 loss suffered by FC Barcelona, labeled by many the best team in the world.
Never in the Pep Guardiola era had FC Barcelona lost by a three-goal margin, and only once had a team before Guadalajara ever put four goals past Barcelona since Guardiola took over in 2008-2009: back on March 1, 2009 in a 4-3 loss at Atlético Madrid.
“It’s the first time with Pep,” defender Gerard Piqué said. “It had to happen sometime. It’s happened and now we just have to focus on the next game and try to win.”
Despite the heavy result, Guardiola was measured in his reaction, refusing to single out any players, refraining from ripping into his squad and avoiding the dissection of any specific plays or aspects of the game. He closed each of his responses with a smile.
“We played a game in which in general terms we did good things,” the Barça head coach explained in his post-game press conference. “When a team loses 4-1, one team was better than the other. And we have to learn. We’re behind and we have to take steps forward.”
As with the 2-1 loss to Manchester United, Barcelona once again struggled against the counterattack, leaving Chivas attacker Marco Fabián wide open for two spectacular goals. Barcelona’s defenders also reacted late on the final two Chivas Guadalajara tallies and it didn’t help that back-up goalkeeper Jose Pinto committed a gaffe on the final strike, failing to corral what looked like any easy ball.
Aside from the humiliation of suffering a lopsided result against Guadalajara, it also makes for two World Football Challenge losses in a row for the UEFA Champions League winners.
“We lost a game,” Guardiola said. “We did some good things and other things not so good. … But did we play badly against Manchester United? No. Did we play badly here today? No. We’ll continue to try our best.”
Although Barcelona could count just two good chances in the second half, they had a multitude of opportunities in the first 45 minutes which they failed to convert. That left the door open for Guadalajara to mount their second-half comeback.
“We tried to play our game from the first minute,” Barcelona’s Mexican right back Jonathan dos Santos said. “We didn’t take advantage of our chances and it cost us in the second half. … I congratulated [Chivas]. They played a great game. It’s not easy to play against Barcelona and they won 4-1.”
“There were many opportunities for them and us,” Guardiola said. “In the game against Manchester United, we suffered against the counterattacks, and here as well. … We’ll correct it and we’ll speak about it and we’ll move forward. We don’t have time, but we will resolve it.”
In fairness, Barcelona were playing without several of their star players due to injury (Carles Puyol, Maxwell and Ibrahim Afellay) and vacations (Lionel Messi, Alexis Sánchez, Javier Mascherano and Dani Alves).
But when you’re the defending European and Spanish champions and you constantly sing the praises of your youth academy, the absences are no excuse, and not once did Guardiola reference them in his post-game press conference.
However, the delay in getting his full team together reduces the window of time to address the deficiencies ahead of the first leg of the Spanish Supercopa against Real Madrid on August 14.
“We’re behind on time. … The result tells us we have a ways to go and we can’t let time pass,” Guardiola said. “We have to correct these things by using our head. … What makes the difference in soccer is using your head and we need to get better in the time we have.
“We need time and right now and we don’t have any.”