Ronald Koeman backs Barcelona to 'fight until the last moment' in La Liga title battle

Goalless draw with leaders Atletico means Catalans are reliant on rivals dropping points if they want to be crowned champions

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman says his team will "fight until the last moment" in the La Liga title battle, despite their frustrating draw with leaders Atletico Madrid on Saturday

But the Dutchman also admitted that his team must not suffer any more slip ups in their remaining three games.

The 0-0 draw at home to Atleti left Barca third in the standings, two points behind Diego Simeone's side and level with second-placed Real Madrid, who snatched a 2-2 draw against visitors Sevilla on Sunday.

Barca can go provisionally top of La Liga by winning their next game at Levante on Tuesday but Atletico and Real will have to drop points in their remaining fixtures if the Catalans are to get their hands on the trophy.

"We're going to fight until the last moment to win La Liga. It's no longer in our hands but we can't commit any more errors," Koeman said on Monday.

The former Netherlands national team manager believes his side have been left jaded after an unforgiving season and congested fixture schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He also felt the lack of supporters was to blame for Barcelona's lowest points total in home matches since the 2002/03 season.

"We are at our limits but so is every team, especially those who have played in Europe or got to finals. There's been so many games and in the end they take their toll on you," he said.

Barca reached the Champions League last 16 this season before going out to Paris Saint-Germain. They also played in the Copa del Rey final, beating Athletic Bilbao 4-0 in Seville.

Gallery: Barca 0 Atletico 0

"Playing without fans also has an impact, that's why teams have dropped so many points at home. It's not normal to play so many games. In the end, the team that is strongest physically and mentally will win the title."

Koeman also insists he will remain as Barca manager next season and retains the backing of the club's board.

"From the first day the president has shown his confidence in me and for me it is not something to be worried about, I signed two years as a coach and I see myself as Barcelona coach next year," he said.

“If not, the president will speak to me, but we will not speak until the end of the season as now is not the time, the most important thing is the end of La Liga and not my future as a coach.”

Koeman said he did not see all of Real's match with Sevilla as he does not enjoy watching Barca's title rivals play.

He said Real's complaints about Eder Militao's handball were not surprising due to the lack of clarity on handball decisions.

"I watched the first 20 minutes of Real Madrid and then AC Milan against Juventus because watching the [Real] game made me nervous. I prefer to watch a different game and find out the result when it's over," he said.

"If Madrid think that they were treated unfairly then that's their problem. All I will say is, as a coach, we've reached the point where we no longer know when a handball is a handball."

Published: May 10, 2021 06:33 PM


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