Ronald Koeman admitted he was ‘worried’ about the injury to Gerard Pique following Barcelona’s 1-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid, with some reports suggesting the defender could be sidelined for four to six months.
Yannick Carrasco scored the only goal of the game right on half-time to secure victory at the Wanda Metropolitano and an already under-fire Koeman became the first Barca manager to lose to Diego Simeone in La Liga.
The result leaves the Catalan giants languishing down in 10th place, nine points adrift of joint leaders Atleti and Real Sociedad.
And the nasty-looking injury to Pique just past the hour-mark added further misery to Barca’s evening, especially as the club were already short of options at centre-back.
Angel Correa fell awkwardly on Pique after a challenge from Jordi Alba on the edge of the penalty area and the Spaniard appeared in some discomfort before being helped off the pitch, with Sergino Dest coming on in his place.
An official statement from Barcelona confirmed Pique had suffered a sprain to his right knee and the veteran centre-half is set for scans on Sunday, along with Sergi Roberto who went down with a thigh problem.
According to Catalan newspaper Sport, the first examinations to Pique’s knee from Barca’s medical staff at the Wanda Metropolitano indicated a ‘serious’ knee injury.
The report suggests the eight-time La Liga winner could be out of action for between four and six months which, if correct, would come as a major blow to Barcelona’s title chances this season.
‘I am worried about the injuries of Piqué and Sergi Roberto,’ Barcelona head coach Koeman said shortly after the final whistle.
‘We look forward to seeing the results tomorrow, to know how long they will be out for.’
Koeman criticised Barcelona’s defending for Carrasco’s 45th-minute strike and took full responsibility for his side dropping yet more points in the league.
‘For a big team, conceding a goal like this … it can’t be, because it’s the 47th minute, we had the ball and then they score, 1-0,’ he said.
‘We controlled and we knew that it was difficult to create many chances.
‘We had a pair and with the score 0-0, the game would have been totally different [if they had taken either chance].
‘Like any coach, I am responsible for the team’s results.’
The Dutchman recognised the ‘pretty big difference’ between Barcelona and the league’s top two teams and called on his players to continue fighting to close the gap.
‘It’s a pretty big difference, but there is a lot of the league left and a lot of games,’ he added.
‘We know that every match is complicated, but after this defeat we have to chain an important winning streak.
‘I have seen a team that has fought until the last second to been able to level the game, so in this sense I am not worried.’
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