Barcelona coach Luis Enrique was unable to say when the Spanish and European champions might fix their defensive woes after they again looked shaky at the back in Sunday’s 3-1 La Liga win at home to Eibar.
Barca needed a Luis Suarez hat-trick to secure a comeback success against the modest Basque side that put them level on 21 points at the top with Real Madrid after nine matches.
However, Eibar’s goal was the 12th they have conceded in Spain’s top flight this term compared with only 21 in the whole of 2014-15 and they have not kept a clean sheet in La Liga in seven matches since a 1-0 win at home to Malaga in August.
“I don’t know how long this phase will last,” Luis Enrique told a news conference after the game at the Nou Camp.
“We can’t say that tomorrow it won’t happen again,” added the former Barca and Spain midfielder.
“We are training every week to bring the ball out … but you have to get it right.
“It’s not a mathematical science and that’s why we can still work on it.
“We gifted them the first goal and that’s where the difficulties start against a team like Eibar.
“When a team is good at putting you under pressure it’s tough if you are not positioned well.”
Barca’s problems at the back could be compounded if Javier Mascherano is handed a lengthy ban for his needless dismissal on Sunday.
The Argentina international, who mostly plays at centre back but can also operate in central midfield, was shown a straight red card for insulting an assistant referee and could be hit with a four-match suspension.
Luis Enrique defended Mascherano, saying it was sometimes hard to avoid losing your head in the heat of the action, but added that a four-match ban would be a big blow.
It would include the first of the season’s two ‘Clasicos’ at Real Madrid on Nov. 24 as well as a home game against Villarreal on Nov. 8.
Barca’s next outing is a King’s Cup last-32, first leg at third-tier Villanovense on Wednesday, which has been brought forward due to the Catalan club’s participation in December’s Club World Cup.