Three defensive errors sentenced Barcelona to defeat. The team had offered a brilliant image of themselves and deserved to make it through to the final but mental and physical disconnections cost them. They were capable of the best and the worst on Thursday night. A 2-1 lead ended up in a 3-2 defeat because of two Atletico counter attacks.
Playing the Spanish Super Cup in January in Saudi Arabia is nothing normal. Nor is the new format that Rubiales invented to earn a LOT of money. Nor is two teams playing - Madrid, and Atletico - who last season did nothing at all to deserve being n the tournament. But 120 million euros over three years worked miracles. Barcelona had more to lose than gain in the final four in exile. Anything that wasn't winning the title could be considered a failure. And it would reopen the debate about the team's play and Valverde's tactics.
And it did. Although this time the defeat was unjust. Barca played the better football. They were far superior to Atletico. But the last 10 minutes killed them. There's enough quality but it was concentration that was lacking. Barca committed too many mistakes. One victory in five games hurts. And obliges a lot of self-reflection.