by Tim Stannard
Despite the doom and gloom, there is still a path to LaLiga glory says Ronald Koeman ahead of today's LaLiga clash against Elche
Although the Barcelona boss probably had other crucial tasks in hand over the past few days, Sports Burst likes to think that Ronald Koeman was one of those who still thought Barcelona would win the LaLiga title this season in our beIN SPORTS tracking poll. 25% of all those who Twitter-clicked in actual fact.
'Yes, we can' was the message from Koeman on Tuesday as he defiantly declared that Barca were alive and kicking in LaLiga ahead of today's Camp Nou clash against Elche at 1PM ET - "I still believe that we can fight for the championship."
It's an ambition that seems lofty, so let's look at the supporting evidence. Barca are just eight points off the top of the table with 15 league games to play. That's a lot of points in play.
Barcelona are actually in the second best run of form in LaLiga with five wins and a draw in the past six matches. In fact, Barca are unbeaten in the league since the 5th December in a run of 13 matches.
As Koeman pointed out, Atletico Madrid are shedding points and Real Madrid really might see the injuries start to impede Coach Zizou's strategy of grinding out one-goal margin victories.
And hey, European competition probably isn't going to be an issue for Barcelona anymore. Glass half full, anyone?
Wednesday's home match against Elche could be a new beginning for Barca - quite literally as it's a rescheduled game from round one - so grab some lunch / brunch depending on where you are and tune in for Barcelona vs. Elche, live on beIN SPORTS from 12:50PM ET.
The Sports Burst live show will be looking ahead to Barca's title hopes and opines on the Early Bird 2021 Ballon d'Or Power Rankings, looking and failing to find Erling Haaland. Tune in to beIN XTRA at 11AM ET.
Simeone - 'what were you expecting?' after Champions League loss
Diego Simeone pretty much summed up Atletico Madrid's tactical approach to Tuesday's Champions League match against Chelsea which involved digging in and sneaking a goal here or there in those times when Atletico were not digging in.
"I don't know what they were expecting," noted Simeone when asked about criticisms of his approach in what was supposed to be a home game, although played in Romania. However, only the Olivier Giroud goal will separate the sides in Stamford Bridge in March and Simeone's temp check shows he is still fairly happy with life. "If you told me in September that we'd lose [this game] and still be [league] leaders, I'd have taken it."
Good on El Cholo.
To be fair, Coach Zizou would probably take the same result today in Real Madrid's Last 16, first-leg Champions League match at Atalanta today. Real Madrid travelled to Italy with nine first-team players out, including Karim Benzema who has a muscle tear.
And, like Simeone, Zidane was not in a complaining mood either. "You talk to me about the injuries but I am happy with the players I have here," said the French coach, whose Real Madrid side now holds the responsibility of avoiding four defeats from four for LaLiga teams in this latest batch of Champions League results.
Neil Lennon steps down from Celtic
The question in Scotland remains 'what took so long?' but Neil Lennon is no longer coach of Celtic, having resigned on Wednesday morning, a few days after a 1-0 loss to Ross County in the Scottish Premiership at the weekend.
But it was not that disappointing defeat in Dingwall which saw Lennon's departure. Nope, it was being 18-points behind Rangers in the standings that was the decisive factor, to leave their Glasgow rivals potentially winning the league title in Parkhead in a few weeks time and stopping Celtic from winning a tenth straight league title.
Celtic Football Club today announced that Neil Lennon has resigned from his position as Football Manager with immediate effect.— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) February 24, 2021
We thank Neil sincerely for all he has done for the club and we wish him every success going forward.
"The club will always be part of me. I will always be a Celtic supporter myself and I will always want the best for Celtic," said Lennon in a farewell statement.
Liverpool finally pick up a big win
The Copa Libertadores continues on beIN SPORTS on Wednesday night. The first qualifying round got underway on Tuesday and it proved to be noteworthy with the word 'Liverpool' being linked with a victory for once. This time it was Liverpool of Uruguay which defeated Universidad Catolica 2-1 in a first leg tie.
The action continues live on beIN SPORTS from 5:15PM ET with Cesar Vallejo of Peru taking on Caracas FC followed by Royal Pari against Guarani.