Barcelona suffered from a mental block during the 4 – 0 defeat to Liverpool which knocked them out of the Champions League, having been scarred by the memory of a similar collapse to AS Roma last year , defender Gerard Pique has said .
Pique, who has won Europe ’ s elite competition with Barca three times but not since 2015 , described the semi – final second leg defeat which wiped out his side ’ s 3 – 0 first- leg win as “ a nightmare” , saying it would take years to get over .
“ You could see that the team just wasn ’ t functioning , they were putting us under pressure and what had happened last year ( against Roma ) was very present in our minds , ” Pique said in an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais published on Friday .
“ I’ m sure it was a mental block, but we also didn ’ t play good football . We lacked everything . They pressed us very high , they were very intense , and Anfield also played its role . We just couldn ’ t cope , sometimes it happens. ”
Barca have romped to a second La Liga title in a row and could complete another successive double when they play Valencia in Saturday’ s Copa del Rey final.
But just as last season ’ s 3 – 0 defeat at Roma after a 4 – 1 home win threatened to overshadow their campaign , Barca ’ s failure to win what Lionel Messi called “ that beautiful and desired trophy ” has also had a terrible impact on the team .
Pique said his teammates had a sense of deja vu during the game at Anfield , which unfolded in a remarkably similar way to events at the Stadio Olimpico last year .
“ I think on a mental level some of us were affected by what had happened in Rome , it was so recent . The first goal came very quickly , and suddenly the image of Rome appeared , ” Pique said , recalling Sadio Mane ’ s goal in the 15 th minute at Anfield .
“ Then they scored two more goals in quick succession and it starts to look too similar to what happened a year ago . It was very tough , it has been very difficult to pull ourselves back up because the days go by and you can ’ t forget this defeat .
“ It ’ s a slip up which is going to last a long time , but we need to take a step forward , ” Pique added .
“ We cannot keep torturing ourselves . It was a nightmare and we have to deal with it because it could happen again.
“ But we have to understand why it happened and let it help us in the future because we want to lift the Champions League again. ”
( Reuters /NAN)
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