Barca assistant: Milan 'pitch was a potato field'
Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura remains “convinced” the Catalans will progress to the Champions League quarter-finals despite their surprise 2-0 loss against AC Milan in the first leg of their last-16 tie.
However, Roura was far from impressed with the state of the San Siro surface, saying: “The pitch was a potato field. It was improper for a match of this nature.”
Kevin-Prince Boateng’s controversial opening goal – the ball appeared to hit the raised arm of Cristian Zapata in the build-up – put the Rossoneri ahead at the San Siro last night, and Sulley Muntari’s superb second doubled their advantage.
Roura accepted the Catalan giants were not at their best last night, but insisted all was not lost ahead of the March 12 return leg at the Nou Camp.
“It’s a bad result,” Roura said on www.fcbarcelona.com. “(But) if any team deserves to have credit, it’s this one. We can make it through to the next round. These players will get the result.
“We’re convinced that we’ll make it through to the next round in Barcelona. We’re playing at home, the people will support us and the pitch will be in optimal condition.”
The 45-year-old, overseeing first-team affairs with head coach Tito Vilanova still in New York undergoing cancer treatment, said: “This stadium is always hard to play in. Milan played their game. They had a lot of men on defence, they were organised and had the right attitude. We lacked fluidity and depth.”
He added: “It wasn’t our best match.
“However, seeing how the game played out, the result is a bit excessive.
“In the first half we controlled most of the play and then they had two chances and scored – the first, taking advantage of a rebound, and the second on the counter.
“The first goal hurt us. We lost our focus and perhaps we were too over-eager.”
Centre-back Gerard Pique felt Barcelona “fell apart” following Boateng’s opener but offered no excuses for the below-par display.
“We are Futbol Club Barcelona and we have to fight back,” the 26-year-old said.
“We had the match under control in the first half but we didn’t play well in the second. We fell apart after they scored the opener. It was out of control. We have to improve and learn from this.”
Pique added: “It looked as though they were coming into the match as victims, but we know this club, the history they have.
“There are no excuses – the pitch, the referee, nothing. We have to work hard to fight back.”