‘We are getting used to playing with one less’

Balls from various sports.

Reuters, Barcelona

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman lamented a red card for Gerard Pique in their 5-1 Champions League victory over Ferencvaros on Tuesday that will keep the experienced defender out of next week’s trip to Juventus.

Pique was sent off by Swiss referee Sandro Scharer with 20 minutes to go after a blatant pull-back in the box on the jersey of Ferencvaros striker Tokmac Nguen after he had been well beaten for pace.

Koeman felt that, with the spot kick awarded, a yellow card would have been a more suitable punishment.

“The penalty and the red card is very bad for us but we are getting used to playing with one less,” a rueful Koeman told reporters. “It happened at Celta Vigo (on Oct. 1) and again today.

“It’s too harsh a punishment. If it’s foul, it’s a penalty and a yellow card. I don’t understand why the referee produced the red card. But we have to accept it.”

Lionel Messi became the first player to score in 16 consecutive Champions League seasons, while Ansu Fati, Philippe Coutinho, 17-year-old Pedri and Ousmane Dembele were on target in what was, in the end, a commanding performance from the Catalan side.

“Overall I’m happy. At times we played very good football, but sometimes we also slowed down too much,” Koeman said, adding that he was pleased the goals had been shared around.

“That’s best for a coach. If there were any doubts about Barca’s goalscorers, we have shown tonight that we have good people, with the great Leo who has given two assists. We’re going home happy.”

Barca face Juventus in Turin in their next Champions League clash on Oct. 28 but before that have ‘El Clasico’ against Real Madrid on Saturday.