Gerard Pique says he would have signed up for losing to Deportivo La Coruna if it guaranteed Barcelona would make history against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. Barca's hopes of retaining their LaLiga title suffered a massive blow on Sunday as they fell to a shock 2-1 defeat at the Riazor a few hours before title rivals Real Madrid recorded a late victory of the same scoreline at home to Real Betis.
The results mean Barca's one-point lead at the top has become a two-point advantage for Madrid, who also hold a game in hand.
But Barca defender Pique called for a sense of perspective after the match, with Barca having pulled off the greatest comeback in Champions League history four days earlier against PSG.
"Depor were really good, but everyone connected to Barcelona would have signed up to come back against PSG and lose to Deportivo," Pique told reporters after the match.
"That is sport. We are not machines and after Wednesday's effort it made it difficult to compete.
"But Depor also played in midweek, so it is not an excuse. The calendar is tough for everyone and every game demands a huge effort.
"Logically this defeat is a step back in our aspirations to win LaLiga but it is clear that we can still turn things around.
"There are a lot of games to go and we have seen that everyone is dropping points."
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 12, 2017
Barcelona struggled without the injured Neymar in the defeat to Depor, a stark contrast to last year's fixture at the Riazor which saw the champions win 8-0.
"Neymar gives us a lot, but we have enough to be able to win here," added Pique.
"But we didn't win and we have to congratulate Deportivo – they deserved it.
"We dominated at the beginning and had control. Their goal took its toll on us. The equaliser was a morale boost, but their second goal was too much."
Barcelona now have seven days to reflect on their dramatic last two matches before they play Valencia at Camp Nou next Sunday.