Beating Las Palmas ''best medicine'' for chastened Barcelona

The best medicine for Barcelona after Wednesday`s 4-1 La Liga drubbing at Celta Vigo is to beat promoted Las Palmas when the Canary Islanders visit the Nou Camp on Saturday, according to midfielder Sergio Busquets.

Reuters| Updated: Sep 24, 2015, 15:51 PM IST
Beating Las Palmas ''best medicine'' for chastened Barcelona

Madrid: The best medicine for Barcelona after Wednesday`s 4-1 La Liga drubbing at Celta Vigo is to beat promoted Las Palmas when the Canary Islanders visit the Nou Camp on Saturday, according to midfielder Sergio Busquets.

Barca`s shock reverse at Celta`s Balaidos stadium ended their perfect start to their title defence of four straight wins and was their heaviest defeat in Spain`s top flight, excluding matches against Real Madrid, in more than a decade.

To rub salt into the wound, Real`s 2-1 victory at Athletic Bilbao lifted them above Barca into top spot on 13 points along with Celta and Villarreal.

Luis Enrique, who was in charge at Celta before taking over as Barca coach last year, said his team had simply been outplayed and punished for not taking their chances.

Busquets noted there was a long way to go in the season and said the players were aiming to get their bid for a sixth Spanish title in eight years back on track as soon as possible.

"We have to turn the page, learn from our mistakes and prepare well for Saturday, which will also be a tough game," he told reporters.

"We have to be more wary of counter attacks and more efficient up front," added the Spain international.

Barca`s attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez hit a Spanish record 122 goals in all competitions last season as the club swept to a treble of titles but have yet to click into top gear this term.

Real`s France forward Karim Benzema, by contrast, has made an excellent start and hit two goals at Bilbao to take his tally for the season to six in five outings.

Coach Rafa Benitez, who took over from the sacked Carlo Ancelotti at the end of last season, has set Benzema a target of 25 goals for the season, something he has not achieved since 2011-12, when he netted 31.

"He`s a fantastic player," Benitez told a news conference after the game at the San Mames.

"He`s a number nine with a difference (in that) he`s not a penalty-box striker.

"The movement and the quality he brings cause problems for the opposition defence and create spaces for his team mates."

Valencia and under-fire coach Nuno will look to bounce back from Tuesday`s 1-0 defeat at Espanyol when they host Granada on Friday, before Atletico Madrid play at Villarreal on Saturday.