'Every year things were getting a little bit worse' - Gerard Pique admits Barcelona have been in decline for a long time

Defender welcomes president's departure after Barca scrape past Dynamo Kiev in Champions League

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Gerard Pique believes Barcelona have been in decline for some time and welcomed the resignation of president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Bartomeu and his board of directors quit the club last week after six years at the helm in order to avoid a vote of no confidence from members, leaving a legacy of plenty of trophies but a steady decline in results and a dire financial situation.

"It was obvious the club was on a downward trend and that every year things were getting a little bit worse than the last," Pique said after his side scraped a 2-1 win over Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League on Wednesday.

"We all know the situation the club is in right now, we're going through a process of change which was badly needed."

The club are currently in the hands of interim president Carles Tusquets, with elections due to be held within the next three months, but Pique said the instability was no excuse for the team's inconsistent performances of late.

Although they have a 100 per cent record in the Champions League, the Catalans have made a terrible start to La Liga and have failed to win their last four matches.

"There's no such thing as a transition year at Barcelona. We don't have much time to make changes but we need to make them if we are to improve," he said.

"A new board of directors and president is coming soon and things will change in the next few months."

Pique also admitted that his side are no longer among the top contenders to win the Champions League after their recent displays in the competition, above all the humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in August.

But he was optimistic about the future of the team, thanks to the emergence of exciting young talents such as Ansu Fati and Pedri.

"It's normal that people don't think we are candidates any more after the last few years, but all we can do is keep on working. We have a good team full of good people and we have a lot of talent," he said.

"We've got a lot of new young faces who are bringing plenty of dynamism to the team. I can tell you from experience that the results will come soon. We believe we can still do great things."

Barca earned a far from convincing win at home to a depleted Dynamo Kyiv as Lionel Messi scored a penalty for the third Champions League game in a row.

The Argentine, who had also scored spot-kicks in wins over Group G opponents Ferencvaros and Juventus, tucked away a penalty in the fifth minute while Pique netted in the second half, glancing in a fine cross from Ansu Fati.

Dynamo, who were missing six players due to Covid-19 positives, which also afflicted five members of staff, gave a decent account of themselves and spurned a couple of chances to equalise as well as having a goal from a corner ruled out due to the ball going out of play.

They deservedly pulled a late goal back in the 75th minute when Viktor Tsygankov slid the ball into the net, pouncing on a rebound after Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen could only parry a shot from Benjamin Verbic.

The victory put Barca on the verge of a place in the knockout stages, leaving them top on nine points after three games, with Juventus second on six and Dynamo and Ferencvaros with a point each.

Barca coach Ronald Koeman was visibly anxious on the sidelines and did not attempt to gloss over the sloppy performance.

"We suffered more today than in any other game so far, we need to improve a lot when we don't have the ball," said the Dutchman.

"I'm happy with the result but not with certain aspects of our game and luckily we had ter Stegen around.

"I think we started well and got the goal early and had some clear chances but after that we lost control and they created a lot of danger. Thanks to Marc, who was phenomenal, we held on."

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