Michael Owen pins blame on two players for Barcelona’s 3-0 defeat to AS Roma

Leaders Sport Performance Summit - Day One

Barcelona crashed out of the Champions League on Tuesday night after throwing away a 4-1 first-leg advantage at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Catalan giants were expected to comfortably secure their place in the semi-finals but instead slumped to a 3-0 defeat in the Italian capital.

Goals from Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas completed the turnout for the Giallorossi, whose players and supporters celebrated long into the night.

Barça, on the other hand, will wonder how they allowed themselves to capitulate after dominating last week’s first leg at the Camp Nou.

Complacency was almost certainly a factor although the club’s head coach, Ernesto Valverde, took full responsibility for the shock defeat.

"When you lose like this it's always hard but it's simple to say that our opponents were very strong from the first minute to the last," he was quoted as saying by Goal after the match. "They applied high pressure throughout and that made it hard to play our game. We couldn't overcome their pressing. They won the second ball, the timing of their goals was important.

"This was a bad day for us. The truth is that they were very good and we weren’t.”

Michael Owen blames two players for Barça's exit

Analysing the game on BT Sport was the former Real Madrid striker Michael Owen, who controversially pinned the blame on two of Barça’s most high-profile players.

Owen, per the Daily Mail, suggested that Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez may have been responsible for the defeat because, in his words, they don’t defend.

“It is incredible,” the former England international said. “When we look at the stats and everything that it tells us it is incredible, but your eyes don't lie.

“We looked at the game in the first leg… we've watched Barcelona for a number of months now and I'm not sure — even though they haven't conceded many — I'm not sure you can not concede when you've got two strikers that don't put anything into defending."

'You can't defend 8 v 11'

Owen added: “They are basically defending with eight outfield players against eleven and I'm not sure you can do that at the highest level.

“You could argue that Roma aren't at the highest level. There are teams that will exploit that even more. But no more, because Barca are out.”

FBL-EUR-C1-ROMA-BARCELONA

In fairness to Owen, both Messi and Suarez were uncharacteristically poor against Roma.

The Mirror handed the South American duo 5/10 ratings for their underwhelming displays - although they were hardly the only two Barça players who flattered to deceive.

In truth, the only Barcelona player to emerge from the match with any credit was the goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Pinning the blame on Suarez and, in particular, Messi does seem rather harsh from Owen.

Is Michael Owen right about Messi and Suarez? Have your say by leaving a comment below.

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