Gerard Pique said committing fewer second-half errors was the key to Barcelona’s 2-1 come-from-behind win at Borussia Moenchengladbach on Wednesday as they proved they can win in the Champions League without an injured Lionel Messi.
Thorgan Hazard -- the younger brother of Chelsea midfielder Eden -- gave Gladbach a shock yet deserved first-half lead at Borussia Park.
But goals in the final 25 minutes, from Arda Turan and Gerard Pique, sealed Barcelona’s second Group C win after their 7-0 hammering of Celtic at the Camp Nou a fortnight ago.
“They scored with the only chance they had in the first half, but the game is 90 minutes long and they put in a huge effort,” said match-winner Pique.
“They didn’t have the same legs in the second half and we made fewer mistakes in midfield.
“By losing possession less and them running less they had fewer counter-attacks and it was more difficult for them.
“Overall, I think we were better and it is a deserved result.”
Barca fought back when Neymar shook off his marker to float a pass over the top of the Gladbach defence and Turan won the race to the ball before drilling his shot home on 65 minutes.
The winning goal came just nine minutes later.
Neymar’s corner was deflected into the path of Suarez, who was unmarked in the area.
He slammed in a powerful shot which was blocked by goalkeeper Yann Sommer, but Pique was on hand to tap home the loose ball from close range.
“It was a setpiece, I was set up to block and I went for the rebound. I saw the ‘keeper was a bit unsure and I managed to score the goal,” explained Pique.
Barca coach Luis Enrique cut a relieved figure after the final whistle at Borussia Park.
“We created chances in the first half too, but they are on a great run and it showed,” he said.
“We weren’t totally clear in our play in the first half, but they took their chance and we didn’t.
“We were much better in the second half and got the victory that helps us a lot.”
Gladbach saw an 11-match winning streak at home come to an end as they were left with nothing to show for an impressive display in which they refused to be overawed by the Spanish giants.
“The team gave it everything and came out of this with some credit. We can be proud,” said Gladbach’s sporting director Max Eberl.
Gladbach did much better than in their 4-0 loss at Manchester City last time out, but winger Patrick Herrmann admitted it was hard to put the brakes on the Spanish giants.
“We did brilliantly to go 1-0 up, but Barcelona are such a quality side -- you have to stay focused for the entire 90 minutes,” he said.
“If you don’t, they take full advantage. We wanted to win the game and it was a close-run affair in the end, but not the result we wanted.”
Gladbach’s next Champions League outing is away at Celtic next month, while Barcelona prepare for a home clash with City as Pep Guardiola returns to the Camp Nou.