By Tim Hanlon
BARCELONA (Reuters) – Angry Barcelona coach Luis Enrique blamed stupid mistakes after the La Liga pacesetters threw away a two goal lead to draw 2-2 at home to Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.
Barca have drawn their last two games in La Liga and could see Atletico Madrid draw level with them if they beat Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, ahead of their trip to the Club World Cup in Japan next week.
The Catalan side have 35 points from 15 games and third place Real Madrid can also move to within two points if they beat Villarreal away.
“The game was under control until we conceded the first goal. We committed individual errors and gave the ball away stupidly which we don’t often do,” Luis Enrique told a news conference.
“The players are disappointed like I am as we wanted to continue with our advantage over rivals. This will serve, though, as something to learn from.”
A Lionel Messi free kick and an Ivan Rakitic strike gave Barca a comfortable lead but they conceded late goals from Lucas Perez and Alex Bergantinos.
Barca’s attack has been in blistering form with the trident of Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez having hit 128 goals so far this calendar year, but this draw comes on the back of another two points dropped away to Valencia last weekend.
“I don’t think the result was what we deserved but this Deportivo game was less unjust than at the Mestalla when we were clearly superior,” said Luis Enrique.
“This is a game where we could have lost. It was a different type of game tactically from those we usually play. Deportivo had seven players close to their area along with three in attack looking to counter. It was a brave approach and they got it right.”
Last season’s treble winners now turn their attention to the Club World Cup with their first game on Dec. 17 in Yokohama against CONCACAF champions America or Asian champions Guangzhou Evergrande who play their quarter-final on Sunday in Osaka.
“This draw is something that we need to take on board going into the tournament,” Luis Enrique said.
“We need to be aware that games are not over even though we are winning 2-0. We need to lift ourselves, though, as we have some attractive games ahead.”
(Editing by Rex Gowar)