Gundogan wants more anger from Barcelona teammates

Ilkay Gundogan looks dejected following the match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys on October 28, 2023 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

As expected, the postmortem following Barcelona’s 2-1 El Clasico loss to Real Madrid on Saturday continues.

However, this time, it’s coming from one of their own.

Ilkay Gundogan spoke after the match and called out his team for the emotion, or lack thereof, stemming from the defeat.

“I have to be honest, not as much as I wish, because I don’t want to say something wrong to be honest,” Gundogan said. “But I was now in the dressing room and of course people are disappointed but, especially after such a game and such a result, so unnecessary, I wish more.

“More frustration, more anger, more disappointment. This is part of the problem. There has to be more emotion, especially when you lose. When you know you can perform better, you can do better in certain situations and you just don’t react. That transfers to the pitch at the end of the day.”

Gundogan was clearly frustrated and he had a right to be.

Barcelona played almost a perfect 60 minutes against Real Madrid. But once Jude Bellingham equalized, the team seemed to drop their shoulders and ceded the initiative to Los Blancos. It wasn’t until they say themselves down and with two minutes left in stoppage time did that sense of urgency return.

Losing is something Gundogan isn’t accustomed to.

He won everything with Manchester City and under Pep Guardiola, that intensity and emotion certainly trickled down from the Catalan manager to the players.

“I didn’t come here to lose these types of games or to let that gap create,” Gundogan continued. “There’s also a responsibility from myself, a more experienced player, to not allow the squad to let these things happen. We need resistance.”

His words are likely to garner a reaction and lead to claims to a lack of mentality but that isn’t what Gundogan is saying. Instead, it’s a reality check that Barcelona need to use these losses as motivators instead of trying to brush them aside.

The league is still well within their grasp. Despite the loss, Barcelona is only four points behind Girona and Real Madrid.

It will now be up to the squad to take Gundogan’s words to heart. On his part, the German midfielder acknowledges he has a role to play as well. We’ll see if they are able to channel that disappointment in their next match against Real Sociedad.