Luis Suarez fears Barcelona have a "tough year ahead of us" after Granada defeat

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Luis Suarez admits Barcelona have a “tough year ahead of us” after a 2-0 defeat at Granada.

Ramon Azeez and Alvaro Vadillo netted in either half as Granada moved top of La Liga, leaving Barca without a win in four away matches this season.

The defending champions, who left Lionel Messi on the bench, are already three points off the pace after losing two of their first five matches.

Striker Suarez said in quotes on AS: “It’s a worrying defeat, a defeat that hurts. And a defeat that we have to take a real good look at, because there are lots of things that we have to improve.

“There’s a long way to go yet, but these are the types of games that win you the title. We have to be tougher if we’re going to win the league. We have a tough year ahead of us.”

A win against a side they have beaten 11 times in their last 12 league meetings would have taken Barca top of the table on goal difference.

Barcelona

But despite the introduction of Lionel Messi at half-time, it was Granada who took their opportunity to leapfrog Sevilla and Atletico Madrid to the summit.

The hosts went ahead in the second minute through Azeez. Roberto Soldado robbed Junior Firpo, fed Antonio Puertas and his cross was headed in by the striker from close range, leaving Barca trailing for the fourth time in five league matches.

Granada doubled their advantage in the 66th minute, Vadillo converting from the penalty spot following a handball from Arturo Vidal, who had just come on as a substitute.

“You can’t go behind so early,” Suarez said. “That made everything that bit tougher for us. We had possession of the ball, but we couldn’t make it count. We have to analyse what happened.”

Barcelona have lost on the road at Athletic Bilbao and Granada already this season, as well as drawing at Osasuna and Borussia Dortmund, and have scored only two goals.

“What we have to look at is the way we’re playing as the away side, because the lack of cutting edge and chances is worrying,” Suarez added.

“We’re Barcelona, and we have to go out there to win the game – we can’t start the way we did.”

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Barcelona player ratings as Lionel Messi and Ansu Fati can't rescue deplorable performance

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Barcelona’s poor start to the season continued with a 2-0 defeat at Granada in La Liga.

Lionel Messi and Ansu Fati both started on the bench, but were summoned at half-time after the Catalans failed to responded to Ramon Azeez scoring the opener inside two minutes.

Despite improving in the second period with Messi and Fati driving forward, Arturo Vidal’s hand ball saw Alvaro Vadillo convert from the spot in the 66th minute to complete a famous win for the hosts.

Here, we look at the performances of Barca’s players.

STARTING XI (4-3-3)

Ter Stegen 5 – An uncharacteristically nervy display from the highly rated shot-stopper. Not at fault for either goal, though.

Semedo 4 – Was under pressure defensively and not the most composed on the ball. Ineffective going forward.

Pique 4 Ball deflected off him for the opener. Good on the ball, but grew frustrated as attackers got the better off him.

Lenglet 5 – Weak an aerial duel as the ball went through for the first goal. One of the better defenders, apart from that error.

Firpo 2 – Made not one, but two errors leading to the opening goal. Never looked comfortable, was caught out of position and misplaced passes. Hooked at half-time.

De Jong 6 – Tidy with his passing and even tried to carry the ball forward when he could. Had little support around him though.

Roberto 5 – A typically bland performance, first in midfield and then at right-back in the second half.

Rakitic 4 – Was meant to be the experienced head in midfield with Sergio Busquets on the bench, but never took control of proceedings.

Carles Perez 4 – Had one good cross in the first half but anonymous otherwise. Made way for Messi at half-time.

Luis Suarez 3 – Looks increasingly like a player well past his prime rather than one out of form. Sluggish, laborious movements as the blunt edge of Barca’s attack.

Antoine Griezmann 4 – Not quite past it just yet, but certainly on his way down. Not helped by operating in a system that doesn’t accommodate him effectively.

SUBS

Messi (46′) 6 – His introduction gave Barcelona a pulse as he created a few inroads. Messi’s mere presence caused a bit of chaos in the final third.

Fati (46′) 6 – Looked a threat and with Messi – who tried to find him at every occasion – provided a spark for Barca.

Vidal (62′) 3 – Conceded a penalty for hand ball just when Fati and Messi were building up a head of steam. Granada’s second from the spot killed the tie.

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Ansu Fati granted Spanish citizenship but future call-up could cause issue for Barcelona

Tom Allnutt 21/09/2019
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Ansu Fati

Barcelona’s 16-year-old starlet Ansu Fati was granted Spanish citizenship on Friday, a government spokeswoman said, meaning he will be able to represent Spain at international level.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s cabinet approved a request made by the justice minister to give the Guinea-Bissau-born forward Spanish citizenship during its weekly meeting, the spokeswoman said.

Fati was just seven years old when he moved in 2009 to Spain from the impoverished west African nation with his family and his startling talent meant he was invited to join Barcelona’s prestigious youth academy La Masia aged 10.

The player qualified for citizenship because he had completed the required 10 years of residency in Spain.

In August, Fati became the youngest player to score for Barcelona in La Liga and on Tuesday, the club’s youngest player to play in the Champions League.

Spain’s national coach Robert Moreno described Fati’s full debut for Barcelona last weekend as “mind-blowing” after he scored one goal and set up another in a 5-2 win over Valencia.

His first major tournament for Spain could come at the Under-17 World Cup in Brazil, which begins on October 26 and ends on November 17.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said Friday it would be a “setback” for Barca if Fati goes to the tournament, when he could miss seven games for his club.

“We will wait for him to be called up first,” said Valverde. “But it would be a setback because he is a player that is contributing a lot to us at the moment.”

Asked if he would try to persuade Fati to remain with Barcelona, Valverde said: “I don’t think he will ask me for advice about it and I don’t like giving advice very much because in football the things you know are learned by experience. Everyone has to make their own decisions.”

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