Barcelona need to defend better as a group, manager Luis Enrique said on Friday after his team conceded four goals for the third time this season against Celta Vigo in midweek.
Last season’s treble success was built on the twin pillars of a formidable attack and a solid rearguard, but in the new campaign they have struggled to maintain the same levels of concentration in defence.
They were porous at the back in their 5-4 European Super Cup win against Sevilla in August and were then on the receiving end of a 4-0 defeat by Athletic Bilbao in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup, which they went on to lose 5-1 on aggregate.
Barca, who face Las Palmas on Saturday, had started La Liga well but in their capitulation against Celta, they were outplayed in a manner that has rarely been seen in recent years.
Luis Enrique was keen to stress that the blame for that defeat lay not only with his backline.
“We created 17 scoring chances but we were not secure at the back,” Luis Enrique told a news conference.
“The defence isn’t just the goalkeeper and the four behind but everyone. It serves to show us how difficult everything is.
“We lost in Bilbao and Vigo justifiably.
“It was a difficult game in Bilbao, and in Vigo the team couldn’t find the back of the net. We had a lot of chances to score and their keeper was one of their best players.”
Barca now face promoted Las Palmas having dropped to fifth in the table, but they are only a point behind Real Madrid, Celta Vigo and Villarreal, who lead the way on 13 points.
Keeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, who has come in for the injured Claudio Bravo, has received the brunt of their recent criticism.
He did well last season playing in the cup competitions, but he was caught off his line for goals against Bilbao and AS Roma in the Champions League, while he was also at fault for a goal in the 4-1 win over Levante last week.
“His position is judged in a special way. Not only keepers concede, but the whole team,” said the Barca coach.
“It would be easy for me to say they are individual errors but for me whether they are by the individual or the team it is the same.”