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La Liga

Martino: Loss makes things difficult

Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino admitted a poor run of results has made “things difficult” as the club’s undefeated league run came to an end at Athletic Bilbao.

• Corrigan: Three thoughts: Athletic Bilbao vs. Barcelona
• Ledwith: Time to worry? Barca stumble again

The La Liga leaders had yet to taste defeat in the competition, but had their lead at the top cut to just goal-difference after falling to a 1-0 defeat at Athletic Bilbao.

Barcelona lead the way on 40 points but have been joined by Atletico Madrid while Real Madrid made a gain on their bitter rivals in third spot.

And the league defeat quickly follows the club’s first loss in this season’s Champions League with the Catalan giants falling to Ajax.

And after the match, Martino admitted the club’s current form had been ‘negative’, but the Argentine coach is refusing to hit the panic button.  

"There is a lot of talk about results … this defeat makes things difficult but I must say I saw a good team, in the first half at least," Martino told reporters.

"This defeat has nothing to do with the game in Amsterdam. I think there was also a big moment in which the game could have changed massively with Neymar [when Ander Iturraspe brought down the Brazilian and was booked, not sent off].

"If I had to speak for the first 70 minutes, I'd say we played well. I saw a very good team. In the first half it was one of the best first-half performances from us this season.

"To me, there is nothing puzzling. It would be disconcerting if my team did not know what to do and I have not seen that today.

"I think they know what we need to do in games. But you are guided by results and the result is negative."


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