Barca must accept PSG have 'a more complete team', says Koeman

By Sports Desk February 16, 2021

Ronald Koeman paid tribute to Kylian Mbappe while admitting Barcelona must accept Paris Saint-Germain have a "more complete team" following their Champions League rout at Camp Nou.

PSG - last season's runners-up - took a commanding lead in the last-16 tie thanks to hat-trick hero Mbappe, who fuelled a stunning 4-1 demolition on Tuesday.

Lionel Messi, whose has been heavily linked with PSG, opened the scoring via a penalty before the French visitors seized control courtesy of Mbappe and Moise Kean.

Ligue 1 champions PSG outclassed and overpowered Barca to put one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals ahead of the return leg on March 10.

Barca head coach Koeman acknowledged PSG's superiority was clear to see and conceded the embattled LaLiga giants have some way to go in order to compete with Mauricio Pochettino's men.

"They were superior, they were very efficient, in particular thanks to to Mbappe," Koeman said.

"The first half was balanced. At 1-0, Ousmane [Dembele] had a good opportunity. In the second part of the match, we had some defence problems.

"They showed that they were superior, with the ball and especially physically.

"They had a more complete team than ours. We have to accept it and keep improving. We know that can happen. This team is ahead of us."

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    Speaking to Sky Sports after the Cottagers gave their survival chances a huge boost on Sunday afternoon, midfielder Reed summed up his side's performance by declaring: "We wanted it more."

    The visitors were certainly good value for their three points, which came as a result of a performance that saw them create the best openings and rarely troubled at the back.

    But Klopp disagreed with the suggestions that his players, whose hopes of European football next term are fading fast, did not want to win just as desperately.

    He said: "Believe me, these boys want [it] but it doesn't work in the moment and there are some reasons for it: we don't score goals and we concede at least one, which in the moment looks like it is enough against us. 

    "You can discuss whatever you want, obviously, I cannot just answer and say, 'Yeah, we don't have mentality.' We have mentality, it's just not the mentality we are used to probably, but the boys want to win games. 

    "They wanted to win this game today. I saw that. We made mistakes still, that's the problem, but that's not about you don't want it - the boys don't want to make mistakes, we just made them. 

    "We have to make sure the mistakes we make are not accountable anymore, so like you can concede a goal – we conceded goals in our best phases, the best periods of our lives, but the only thing is then you are not bothered about it. 

    "That's where we have to come. We have really tight results in the moment, pretty much always against us, and we have to make sure we win football games again. 

    "If it's a 1-0, it's fine, fight for it with all you have and then you can gain confidence and momentum maybe again. In the moment we don't have that."

    Klopp did, though, acknowledge that his team's performance was not worthy of taking even a share of the points.

    He added: "It was not good enough. Conceded a goal, didn't score, lost the game. It was not good enough. 

    "I had a few interviews and tried to explain it. We had to make some changes and wanted to make some more, and it is then clear that it takes a little bit of time to adapt - especially when you know that Fulham is in a really good moment and is anyway a good football-playing side. So that was clear. 

    "We started OK with our direction, especially when we sent Mo in behind. We had moments, didn't use them, they had their moments when they played behind our last line, of course, but we didn't concede a goal [then]. 

    "We conceded a goal in the moment when obviously we didn't expect it and it was only a few minutes before half-time. But we got then more and more used to each other and played some good stuff, created chances, had chances, didn't score. 

    "Then the longer the game goes, obviously in our situation it's not that you get stronger and stronger and stronger. It gets a little bit lesser again and that's why we lost."

    Against Fulham, Liverpool named their 20th central defensive partnership of a season that has been defined by injuries not only limited to that position.

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    "We have to use that time, we have to hope all the boys who go to their national teams come back healthy, like always. Then I think there are another nine or 10 games to go, sounds like 27 or 30 points, so a lot to go for and we will try."

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    Luis Suarez's 10th league strike against Madrid had appeared enough for a precious victory, yet missed chances came back to bite Diego Simeone's men as the long-serving Atleti coach was denied a club-record 309th win in the job.

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    Madrid stay third, five points behind Atleti, but Barcelona – winners against Osasuna on Saturday – are now within three of the leaders, who have one win in five in all competitions.

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