Barcelona’s woes in La Liga continued as they lost 3-1 to Real Valladolid on Tuesday night. The champions, who had already secured their 27th league title earlier this month, put up a lacklustre performance against a team fighting for survival.
Frenkie de Jong, who wore the captain’s armband for the first time, admitted that the team was not good enough and failed to match Valladolid’s intensity.
“We didn’t do anything right. They played with everything they had and it showed. They gave their lives on the pitch. We were bad,” he said after the game. “We have to look at ourselves because we didn’t do enough to win. We have to congratulate them for their performance.”
“We always have to win at Barça, especially against Valladolid, no disrespect to them. But they did well and we have to acknowledge that. We have to look at ourselves because we didn’t play well in this game.” de Jong added.
The Dutchman also expressed his honour at being made the captain, saying “It was a great honour for me. I always dreamed of playing for Barcelona and to take the captain’s armband is a great honour for me.”
De Jong also praised Raphinha for standing up for Vinicius Junior during the game, saying “That’s fine. Racism has to be completely eradicated.”
De Jong was partnered by Pablo Torre in midfield, who got his first league start due to Pedri’s injury. The youngster was happy with his opportunity, but not with the result.
“The match didn’t go as we wanted to, but I’m happy to have played as a starter. Xavi told me to take risks and played me in the position that I like the most. I’m delighted playing in any position, and I try to do what he tells me,” he said about his performance.
Torre acknowledged that he has had a tough season, but he has also learned a lot. “It has not been an easy season for me, but I have learned a lot. I have a good understanding with Balde off the pitch, and these things are also noticeable on the pitch,” he said.
Torre is one of the players who could leave Camp Nou this summer, with Real Sociedad reportedly interested in signing him.
Barcelona conceded three goals for only the second time this season, thanks to an early own goal by Andreas Christensen and a penalty by Cyle Larin in the first half. Gonzalo Plata added a third goal in the second half after a VAR check.
Barcelona’s only consolation came from Robert Lewandowski, who scored his 23rd league goal of the season with six minutes left. The Polish striker is leading the race for the Pichichi trophy as LaLiga’s top scorer.