Barcelona are not ready to win the biggest trophies and fans must be “realistic” about their title chances, head coach Ronald Koeman said.
The Catalans face Athletic Bilbao on Sunday for the first time since suffering defeat to Marcelino’s side in the final of the Supercopa de Espana.
Barca go into the match 10 points behind LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid, who have a game in hand. Their tally of 37 points from their first 19 matches is their lowest return at this stage of a season since 2003-04.
According to a Stats Perform AI model run last week, Barca had just a 12.4 per cent likelihood of winning LaLiga, with Atletico overwhelming favourites at 75.1 per cent.
Having won just twice in their past seven meetings with Athletic in all competitions, the pressure is on Barca and Koeman to deliver to keep their slim hopes of a title challenge intact.
However, the former Netherlands boss feels this has been a year of transition for the club that means they should not aim too high.
“It’s tough, because the points gap is very big,” he said on Saturday. “In the Champions League, there’s no clear favourite. We have a knockout against Paris Saint-Germain that we’ll try to get through.
All ‘s on #BarçaAthletic