Frenkie de Jong insisted Barcelona can have no excuses after their 4-2 La Liga loss to Girona.
La Blaugrana’s clash with their Catalan neighbours was billed as an opportunity for Xavi’s charges to boost their their title defence chances and break Girona’s unbeaten run.
However, despite the pre-game build up, the hosts failed to perform, and Girona reclaimed top spot with an assured performance at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys.
Robert Lewandowski’s goal equalised Girona’s early breakthrough before former Real Madrid full back Miguel Gutierrez hammered Girona back in front.
Wasted chances dominated for Barcelona in the second half, and they conceded twice in the closing stages, to register just their second home defeat of the season.
Dutch star de Jong was frank in his post match interview but insisted there is plenty to play for in 2024.
“It’s a tough defeat to take, but we weren’t good. Girona played very well, but it’s our fault”, as per quotes from Marca.
“We haven’t been at the level we need to be. We have not taken care of the ball and I include myself in that. That has cost the game.
“We’re seven points behind now, but there is more than half of the season left. We have to improve.”
De Jong could be one of the players rested by Xavi in midweek, for the Champions League trip to Royal Antwerp, ahead of a league clash at Valencia next weekend.