Barcelona midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has questioned his side’s response to losing Saturday’s Clasico with Real Madrid and warned that he did not join the club to lose big games.
In what was Gundogan’s first taste of the famous fixture, Barcelona gave up a 1-0 lead as Jude Bellingham struck twice to hand Madrid a stoppage-time victory and increase the team’s lead over Xavi’s side to four points after 11 games.
After the game, Gundogan publicly called out his teammates’ reactions to the defeat, demanding more disappointment after losing such an important fixture.
“I want to be honest but without going overboard, because I wouldn’t like to say something I shouldn’t,” he said after the game. “Of course people are disappointed but after such a big game, and such result, I wish there was more anger, frustration and disappointment. This is part of the problem.
“There has to be more emotion, especially when you lose. You know you can do better in certain situations and you don’t react, and this transfers to the pitch at the end of the day.”
Barcelona have now won just two of their last five La Liga games and have fallen to fourth in the standings, with early leaders Madrid joined by Catalan rivals Girona at the top of the standings.
“We need to make huge step or Real Madrid or Girona is going to run away,” Gundogan warned his teammates.
“I didn’t come here to lose these types of games or let a gap be created [at the top of the table]. I also have a responsibility as a veteran player to not allow the team to let these things happen. We need resistance.”
As reported by Helena Condis, the Barcelona squad were surprised by Gundogan’s brutal assessment of the game, having rarely had somebody inside the dressing room go public with such criticism.
However, his words are understood to have been taken positively, with Xavi’s squad well aware they have fallen short of expectations this season.