Errant Ter Stegen won’t change despite Barca defeat
Barcelona: Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen insisted he won’t change his flamboyant style despite a huge error costing the Spanish champions a 4-3 defeat to Celta Vigo on Sunday.
Three Celta goals in 11 first-half minutes from Pione Sisto, Iago Aspas and a Jeremy Mathieu own goal had Barca on the ropes before a second-half revival saw Gerard Pique and a Neymar penalty haul the visitors back into the game.
However, the German goalie then chipped the ball onto the head of Pablo Hernandez for Celta’s fourth to end hopes of a heroic comeback before Pique headed home Barca’s third late on.
“If I don’t make that mistake we had a good chance to win the game,” said Ter Stegen.
“It is a mistake that I cannot make. It’s my fault, but, although it’s happened, I won’t entirely change the way I play.”
Ter Stegen set a La Liga record for passes completed by a goalkeeper earlier this season at Athletic Bilbao and Pique defended the 24-year-old’s ability to set up Barca’s attack from the back.
“We know Marc is very good with his feet. He gives us a lot and many good moves begin thanks to him,” said Pique, who nearly capped a sensational hat-trick when he headed wide in stoppage time.
“We all make mistakes and knowing him it won’t affect him.”
Defeat means Barca missed out on the chance to move top on a wild day of La Liga action as Real Madrid drew for the fourth consecutive game as they were held 1-1 at home by Eibar.
Atletico Madrid and Real lead Barca by two points after Atletico shrugged off seeing two penalties saved to beat Valencia 2-0.
“We were much better in the second half. We had nothing to lose and it nearly worked out for us,” added Pique.
“The positive thing to take from the game is the reaction of the team in the second-half.
“There is a long way to go. Everyone is very tightly bunched and dropping points. That is the level of our league.”
Barca improved markedly with the introduction of Andres Iniesta after the break on his 600th appearance for the club.
However, the Spanish international admitted defeat took the shine off that landmark.
“It is a bittersweet feeling evidently with the defeat,” said Iniesta.
“More than just numbers it signifies many years competing at a high level and I have the motivation to continue for many more.
“The defeat hurts given the situation and opportunity we had to go top, but we were punished for those three goals in the first-half. In the second half we had chances, but it wasn’t to be.