No room for error: Barça’s tricky week after controversial Madrid win

Barcelona, Spain, Jun 22 (efe-epa).- Barcelona boss Quique Setién on Monday weighed in on the controversial refereeing decisions in Real Madrid’s victory over Real Sociedad, a win that put the side from the Spanish capital at the top of LaLiga.

Barcelona-based sports newspapers pulled no punches with their frontpage splashes Monday with headlines like “Scandal in Anoeta” and “the leaders of VAR” following Madrid’s 1-2 away win in San Sebastián on Sunday.

Things are heating up at the top of the Spanish league. Barça’s draw with Sevilla last week provided Madrid with a chance to seize the top spot with just eight match days to go.

Real Madrid’s victory at the Anoeta provided several other talking points, from the debatable foul on Vinicius Jr. which led to a penalty, the no-goal given to Adnan Januzaj after an offside Mikel Merino was deemed to have blocked Thibaut Courtois’ view and claims that Karim Benzema controlled the ball with his arm before sealing the win.

At the pre-match press conference before Barcelona’s Tuesday night date with Athletic Bilbao, Setién said that some things on the pitch were uncontrollable.

“We’ll try to do things well on the pitch and there’s nothing more to it. There are times when you’re more pleased than others. What some consider an injustice, others benefit from, but what never changes is there is always controversy,” he said.

He added that despite Barça slipping from the top spot this weekend, the team was playing well and that its objective of holding on to the possibility of being crowned champions would continue right up until the end of the season.

“We’re sure we can win the league, we will continue doing everything possible, improving areas that need improvement, maintaining areas where we’re doing well, of which there are many.”

Barcelona currently share 65 points with Real Madrid at the top of the league but Los Blancos are in first because of their head-to-head record.

It is therefore a crunch week for Setién’s side as they host a dogged Athletic Bilbao, who travel to Catalonia with a win against Real Betis and draws against Eibar and Atlético Madrid under their belts since the return of Spanish football.

On paper, Madrid should have it easier as they host a struggling RCD Mallorca.

Immediately after Barcelona’s draw with Sevilla on Friday, Gerard Piqué suggested Madrid could now run away with the league, adding that he couldn’t see them dropping any points.

Barcelona has no room for error and there are a couple of issues in the squad, too, with Frenkie de Jong and Sergi Roberto out injured.

It also remains to be seen who shall join Lionel Messi upfront. Luis Suárez has not recovered 100 percent from his injury, Martin Braithwaite showed up against Mallorca but was left no mark against Sevilla and Antoine Griezmann is still finding his place in the squad. EFE-EPA


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