Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman admitted he is worried about the stuttering club following their equal worst LaLiga start.

Barca equalled their worst tally of LaLiga points after six games since the Spanish competition reverted to three points for a win following Saturday's 1-1 draw at 10-man Deportivo Alaves.

Antoine Griezmann cancelled out Luis Rioja's opener with 27 minutes remaining to salvage a point for Barca, who have just eight points to already be as many points adrift of defending champions and bitter rivals Real Madrid.

Barca – who languish in 12th place amid a four-match winless streak in LaLiga – have the same total of points as they managed at the start of the 2002-03 campaign under Louis van Gaal.

"I'm worried by our performance in attack," Koeman – in his first season at the helm after replacing Quique Setien – said. "It's not an attitude problem, nor concentration, but it's a question of being more assured in front of goal.

"It happened to us against Juventus and today as well. Furthermore, we gifted Alaves their goal. But if we create that many chances, we can't miss so many. If you create chances and you only score one, it's not good.

"Of course I'm worried that we've only picked up two points from the last 12 [available]. I think the play has been, in general, very satisfactory. I'd be more worried if we weren't creating chances.

"We have to perform better in front of goal. The final pass, the final shot. We can't miss so many [chances]. We're missing too many."

Lionel Messi's struggles also continued – the superstar Barca captain has now gone 877 minutes without scoring in open play.

Messi's last open-play effort came against Napoli in the Champions League back in August, although he has scored three penalties and one free-kick since then.

Koeman made three changes at half-time, introducing Miralem Pjanic, Pedri and Trincao for Sergio Busquets, Clement Lenglet and Ousmane Dembele following Rioja's 31st-minute opener.

"I wasn't happy with the first half," said Koeman. "I made three changes because I wasn't happy and there were some players on a yellow card.

"If you criticised me the other day for making changes too late, today I made changes at half-time. I wasn't happy with our first half and there were people on the bench with the capability of scoring. I wanted to change things to win the game."

Antoine Griezmann says Barcelona's players were furious with themselves after a 1-1 draw at Deportivo Alaves in LaLiga on Saturday.

Barca failed to come up with a winner despite playing the majority of the second half with an extra man.

A goalkeeping mistake by Neto allowed Luis Rioja to give Alaves the lead before Jota was shown a second yellow for a dangerous high kick on Gerard Pique.

France striker Griezmann equalised soon after with a classy finish, but the Blaugrana could not find a way past Fernando Pacheco in the Alaves goal.

Pacheco's seven saves were more than any other goalkeeper has made in a LaLiga game against Barca this season.

"We are angry, and angry because we wanted the three points," Griezmann said in a media conference afterwards.

"We are failing a lot in front of goal, I am the first. We have had many chances, but we have only scored one.

"We have to work to improve. The team needs my goals and I try to improve on that."

The result meant Barca lost further ground on Real Madrid and are now eight points behind the leaders in 12th place.

It also ensured have equalled their joint-worst start to the season since LaLIga changed to three points for a win - Barcelona also had eight points after six games in 2002-03.

Although Griezmann said nobody at the club has started to panic.

"We must improve and with work it will be like that. We need calm because the campaign is long," added Griezmann.

"We still have a lot to improve. We have to work towards Wednesday's game against Dynamo Kiev now and try to win."

Barcelona have equalled their worst tally of LaLiga points after six games since the competition reverted to three points for a win. 

Ronald Koeman's side drew 1-1 with Deportivo Alaves on Saturday, meaning they have just eight points so far in the early stages of the 2020-21 season. 

That is the same total as Barca managed at the start of the 2002-03 campaign when another Dutchman, Louis van Gaal, was in charge. 

The Blaugrana are currently languishing in 12th place – already eight points behind LaLiga leaders and reigning champions Real Madrid.

It has also been a difficult start to the campaign for  Lionel Messi too, as he has now gone 877 minutes without scoring in open play. 

The Argentina international's last open-play effort came against Napoli in the Champions League back in August, although he has scored three penalties and one free-kick since then.

Antoine Griezmann salvaged a point for Barcelona as their struggles in LaLiga continued with a disappointing 1-1 draw against 10-man Deportivo Alaves on Saturday.

Visitors Barca, who had lost their prior two league matches, fell behind in the first half after a goalkeeping blunder by Neto allowed Luis Rioja to open the scoring.

Alaves had Jota sent off for a second bookable offence just after the hour mark, however, and the Blaugrana quickly equalised with a fine finish from France striker Griezmann.

But Ronald Koeman's side could not forge a decisive second despite late pressure, instead seeing their winless LaLiga run extended to four matches as they languish down in 12th.

Ronald Koeman vowed he would not let Barcelona's club elections distract him from the challenge of winning trophies at Camp Nou.

The Dutchman walked into a club in crisis in August when he left the Netherlands job to return to Barcelona, with whom he had already enjoyed a highly successful six-year playing spell.

It means the head coach can hardly raise any protest amid the turmoil that continues to encircle the Catalan giants, whose president Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned this week.

Bartomeu's leadership was facing heavy criticism, with star man Lionel Messi so disenchanted that he attempted to leave the club during the close season.

Now several months of electioneering are firmly under way, and Koeman will be doing well if he can keep his mind away from talk of what each candidate has in mind for the future.

One of those who looks set to stand, Toni Freixa, has backed Koeman to continue in his post, but rival Victor Font has made no secret of his intention to appoint Xavi in a senior capacity, and also floated the idea of Pep Guardiola returning.

Asked about Freixa's comments and his own future, Koeman said in a news conference on Friday: "I don't like to speak individually about the candidates, we'll see what can happen. My job is not to be happy or unhappy if someone wants to change things or not.

"I am here for the club and to win things and the most important thing is to win tomorrow."

Koeman's Barcelona travel to face Deportivo Alaves on Saturday, having won 5-0 at Mendizorrotza in their final LaLiga game of last season, by which time Real Madrid had eclipsed them to land the title.

They were under the charge of Quique Setien for that game, which saw Lionel Messi score twice and provide an assist.

Messi has struck 10 times in his nine LaLiga games against Alaves, as if his value to Barcelona needed any fresh emphasising.

Barcelona have won their past seven LaLiga meetings with Alaves, keeping a clean sheet in five of those and scoring an average of 3.4 goals per game.

They were last beaten by the Vitoria-Gasteiz side in September 2016, slipping to a 2-1 defeat that day as coach Luis Enrique began the game with Messi and Luis Suarez on the bench.

This time Barcelona are looking to bounce back from two successive LaLiga defeats, to Getafe and Madrid, having not lost three in a row in the league since April 2016 – another low point in the Luis Enrique era.

At least a midweek Champions League win over Juventus showed Barcelona are capable of finding focus amid the circus that surrounds them.

The players do not appear nearly as vulnerable as Koeman to regime change, yet there will be a sense of relief when the focus can all be directed towards matters on the pitch.

Questions about the presidency will keep coming for Koeman, who stressed on Friday: "It is not in my hands. I am a coach of this club and I work hard to move the team forward, achieve good results and win titles.

"It is what the coach and the players have to do. I am not nervous and I am involved in my work. That's how it is.

"From today until the elections there are candidates who will speak, who say things about their projects, and we will see who will be the president in the future."

Pablo Machin has been appointed as head coach of Deportivo Alaves.

Former Girona, Sevilla and Espanyol boss Machin has signed a contract for the 2020-21 season.

Juan Muniz guided Alaves to LaLiga safety after they sacked Asier Garitano with four games remaining but did not extend his stay beyond the end of the campaign.

Machin was fired by Espanyol last December with the club bottom of the top flight.

He reportedly rejected an approach from Chinese Super League team Qingdao Huanghai before agreeing to join Alaves.

Lionel Messi says the attitude shown by Barcelona in their 5-0 win over Deportivo Alaves on Sunday is the benchmark for next season. 

After proving unable to keep pace with Real Madrid since the resumption, Barca ultimately surrendered their LaLiga crown in midweek after an insipid 2-1 home defeat to Osasuna. 

They ended their domestic campaign in some style, though, Messi scoring twice and further goals from Ansu Fati, Luis Suarez and Nelson Semedo sealing the win. 

Messi was impressed by his team-mates' response and says the commitment shown on Sunday should be the bare minimum as they look to reclaim their title next season.

He told Movistar: "As coach (Quique Setien) said the other day, we have had some very good games, some very good moments. But we have to do that more consistently now. 

"Today, we saw something else. It was a difficult game to play and the team responded differently in attitude and commitment. It is a step forward for what is to come. 

"We did a lot of self-criticism and realised a lot of things. We didn't have a great season.  

"Today is a step forward in terms of attitude and commitment, which is what you always have to have. You have to at least match the attitude of any rival; if not more." 

While their domestic duties are done for 2019-20, Barca now switch their focus to the Champions League. They host Napoli in the second leg of their last-16 tie at Camp Nou on August 8.

Lionel Messi ran the show as dethroned LaLiga champions Barcelona took out their frustrations on Deportivo Alaves, winning 5-0 at the Mendizorroza.

Title winners in Spain for each of the past two years, Barcelona surrendered their crown to Real Madrid this season and there might be fallout from that setback still to come.

At Alaves, however, it was a case of Barcelona showing they remain the most watchable team in Spain when they find their rhythm, a double from Messi and further goals from Ansu Fati, Luis Suarez and Nelson Semedo doing the damage.

Barcelona threw away their lead in the title race after a handful of post-lockdown draws allowed Madrid to steal a march and losing to 10-man Osasuna on Thursday reflected their misery, leading to questions being asked about coach Quique Setien's future. On Sunday, it was a thoroughly different story.

Barcelona had already hit the Alaves goal frame three times, through Riqui Puig, Arturo Vidal and Messi, before they took a 24th-minute lead through Fati.

Messi was the creator, with his cross from the right having the sting slightly taken out of it by a minor deflection before dropping perfectly for Fati to crack into the bottom-right corner.

The second goal in the 34th minute came when Barcelona burst at pace and located their talisman in the centre of the penalty area.

Puig dutifully laid the ball into Messi's path from the left, and after shimmying delightfully to deceive goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez, the Argentinian stroked the ball home from close range.

Vidal had a header well saved by Roberto from Messi's terrific cross, before Suarez made it 3-0 in the 44th minute, nodding home after great link-up play from Messi and Jordi Alba.

Semedo replaced the injured Clement Lenglet early in the second half and left his defensive station to surge into the Alaves box and smash home a fourth goal in the 57th minute.

Messi - who else? - guided home a cross from Alba in the 75th minute, and suddenly Barcelona were all smiles.

Zinedine Zidane praised the "phenomenal" Thibaut Courtois after Real Madrid took another step towards the LaLiga title with a win over Deportivo Alaves.

Madrid kept a clean sheet for the fifth straight game, recording a 2-0 win on Friday to move four points clear of rivals Barcelona with three games remaining.

Zidane lauded Courtois, who made four saves in Madrid's win as Karim Benzema netted a penalty before Marco Asensio's second-half goal.

"He has a very big influence. He is our goalkeeper, what he is doing every game is phenomenal," Madrid coach Zidane told a news conference, via AS.

"It is a matter for everyone when it comes to defending … today, he [Courtois] has been good for us with two or three stops, and then the strength of the entire team.

"We have to continue like this."

Madrid scored a penalty for the third straight game, while the VAR was needed to award Asensio's goal after it was initially ruled out due to an offside decision against Benzema.

As another clean sheet helped Madrid, Zidane said he was happy with his team, who are away to Granada on Monday.

"I'm not worried because the important thing is to win matches," he said.

"We didn't score four or five goals, but because there is an opponent who defends. We scored two goals, one very beautiful in play.

"I am happy and calm with what we are doing."

Raphael Varane dismissed talk the VAR favoured Real Madrid after the LaLiga giants moved closer to the league title with a win over Deportivo Alaves.

A Karim Benzema penalty and Marco Asensio goal saw Madrid record a 2-0 win on Friday, moving four points clear of rivals Barcelona with three games left.

Madrid were awarded a spot-kick for the third straight game, while the VAR was needed after Asensio's goal was initially incorrectly ruled out for an offside decision against Benzema.

Varane, who helped Madrid keep a clean sheet for the fifth straight game, was unfazed by any talk decisions were going his team's way.

"Outside noise doesn't matter to us. We are focused on winning and giving everything on the pitch," the defender told Movistar.

"We don't control the VAR, we control the effort and attitude we show on the pitch."

Madrid are closing in on their first league title since 2016-17, with Barcelona having clinched the past two crowns.

Varane said Madrid still had finals to play ahead of matches against Granada, Villarreal and Leganes to finish the league season.

"We are focused on our objective and we have three finals left," he said.

"It was important to win, of course, but it is very important to keep a clean sheet. That gives us a lot of confidence.

"We will continue with the positive dynamics we have."

Real Madrid moved a significant step nearer to a 34th LaLiga title as Karim Benzema set them on the way to a 2-0 win over Deportivo Alaves.

The gap to Barcelona in second place is back to four points, and it would take a mighty collapse from this position for the teams to swap positions.

Marco Asensio grabbed Madrid's second goal after Benzema's early penalty, and Zinedine Zidane's side could have stretched their lead as a string of chances came their way.

But lowly Alaves contributed plenty to an entertaining game, enough to suggest they can survive in the top flight under their new coach Juan Muniz.

Vinicius Junior has been included in Real Madrid's squad to face Deportivo Alaves on Friday.

The Brazilian winger has been in outstanding form for the LaLiga leaders since the season's restart, but his involvement in their next match was in doubt.

Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane revealed on Thursday that Vinicius had missed training to take a coronavirus test.

An initial test "went badly" - seemingly returning an anomalous result - and had to be repeated, Zidane said.

Madrid offered no update on Vinicius but named the 19-year-old among their 22-man group for the meeting with Alaves.

Zidane's side are a point ahead of Barcelona, who have played a game more.

Vinicius Junior must repeat a COVID-19 test after an apparently anomalous result, Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane has revealed.

Zidane was speaking ahead of his team's LaLiga match against Deportivo Alaves on Friday, where Vinicius' participation is now in doubt after a test "went badly".

The 19-year-old sat out training on Thursday and must wait to find out if he will be available to face Alaves.

"The doctors informed me that the test went badly and that we need to repeat it," said Zidane, who will be without Luka Jovic after the forward was forced to self-isolate due to coming into contact with a friend who contracted COVID-19.

When he was asked to clarify whether "badly" might mean Vinicius had tested positive for coronavirus, he replied: "Sometimes there are errors. That can happen.

"Whenever something like that happens, the player can't train. I hope it's nothing and that he can be with us for Friday's game.

"We'll have his results this afternoon."

Even if Vinicius is forced to sit out, Eden Hazard will be available as Madrid seek a victory that would give them a four-point advantage over Barcelona with three games remaining.

The Belgium playmaker was absent from the back-to-back 1-0 wins over Getafe and Athletic Bilbao and has had his debut season in the Spanish capital ruined by a broken foot.

"It is not a relapse and he has trained with us normally," Zidane said.

"I hope he will be with us in the four remaining games and then in the Champions League.

"He wants to be with us and he is not afraid, but it is the third relapse and it bothers him a little.

"There are people here who know much more than me and the image [X-ray] comes out clean, it is perfect, but the discomfort is normal after a game or strong training.

"He is not afraid and wants to help the team and tomorrow he will be with us "

Marcelo faces a scan on an unspecified complaint, but Raphael Varane is set to return at centre-back after recovering from concussion.

"We haven't won anything," Zidane said, when confronted with his team's strong position heading into the final stretch.

"Four games are remaining and tomorrow is another final.

"I am sorry to repeat myself, but there is no other choice. What we want is to continue with what we are doing."

Saul Niguez urged Atletico Madrid to continue their good run of form after a 2-1 win over Deportivo Alaves in LaLiga on Saturday.

Atletico consolidated third spot in the table courtesy of their fourth straight win as Saul and Diego Costa, the latter via the penalty spot, scored at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Saul was pleased to get on the scoresheet and called for Atletico to keep pushing ahead of Tuesday's clash with Barcelona.

"I'm very happy to have scored the opener. Scoring without our fans feels totally different, but it gave us the lead. It also generated spaces because they were defending deep and it was hard," the midfielder said.

"When we went 1-0 up, they left more spaces and allowed us to attack them in different ways. In the first half we were up against a side with six defenders and everyone else in the middle of the pitch.

"Sometimes we didn't interpret correctly what had to be done, because we tried to attack them through the middle. There was more space down the wings.

"I think we didn't play badly in the first half despite being 0-0. I think we did quite well, but it's difficult to unravel the opposition when they have six defenders and are fresh. That happens to us and to everyone else.

"We're going to enjoy this good win. I think it's the first time we won four straight games this season. We're enjoying a positive streak and have to continue like this. If we do, we'll reach our goal."

While Joselu scored a late spot-kick for Alaves, Atletico are now four points clear of fourth-placed Sevilla.

Atletico coach Diego Simeone talked up the importance of the win and is prepared for another difficult encounter at Camp Nou.

"The next game will be really tough, like every time we play in Barcelona," he said.

"Now it's time to rest and prepare, so that we arrive in the best possible shape."

Atletico Madrid took a big step towards sealing Champions League qualification as they defeated Deportivo Alaves in a 2-1 LaLiga win at Wanda Metropolitano.

After a low-key start to Saturday's contest, a Saul Niguez header just before the hour mark put the hosts in front.

Two Atleti substitutes played a part in the second as Diego Costa converted a penalty won by Marcos Llorente to wrap up what ultimately proved to be a comfortable victory for Diego Simeone's side.

Joselu scored a stoppage-time penalty for the visitors, but Atletico are now four points clear of Sevilla in fourth and have opened up a superb nine-point cushion over Getafe in fifth.

Alvaro Morata sent an early header just wide, shortly before his flick-on to fellow forward Joao Felix saw the Portugal international send an impressive acrobatic effort narrowly off target.

Jose Maria Gimenez put a free header over from 12 yards and, despite their opponents defending deeply, it was Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak who had the only first-half save to make from Aleix Vidal.

Diego Simeone brought on Costa and Llorente early in the second half as he attempted to inject life into the hosts and the latter made an instant impression, winning a free-kick down the right.

Kieran Trippier sent in a fine delivery and the onrushing Saul converted with a thumping header from six yards for his fourth goal of season, keeper Fernando Pacheco getting a hand to it but unable to make the save.

Alaves almost levelled when a powerful aerial effort from Oliver Burke flew inches wide, but Atleti soon threatened at the other end when Llorente's long-range effort forced Pacheco to parry.

Llorente then showed superb pace and skill down the right before drawing a foul from Ruben Duarte, with Costa sending Pacheco the wrong way from the spot 17 minutes from time.

Three minutes into added time, Joselu sent a fine penalty into the top corner after Koke was penalised for handball, but it was too late for the visitors to recover.


What does it mean? Atletico impressing since lockdown

Atletico took the chance to extend their advantage over Sevilla, who could only draw with Real Valladolid on Friday, and now look almost certain to claim a Champions League spot.

They have impressed since LaLiga resumed after the coronavirus-enforced break – having drawn their first game back, they have won four straight games, with only the late spot-kick denying them a fourth straight clean sheet.

Llorente lifts Atletico

Former Real Madrid midfielder Llorente changed the game when he came on, winning the free-kick and penalty that led to each goal, as well as testing Pacheco with a rasping drive.

Correa struggles to make an impact

Angel Correa only had one blocked shot and 10 completed passes to show for his 57 minutes on the pitch, though he was not the only one to blame for a sluggish Atletico start.

What's next?

Atletico needed points in this match as their next one is a huge test away to Barcelona on Tuesday. Alaves, meanwhile, are at home to Granada a day later as they bid to halt a run of three straight defeats.

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