Ronaldo Koeman warned “this is not the Barcelona of eight years ago” after facing criticism of the club’s style of play.
Centre-back Ronald Araujo was playing as a makeshift striker when he scored a last-minute equaliser to rescue a 1-1 draw at home to Granada on Monday night.
His defensive partner Gerard Pique had also been thrown into attack for the final 20 minutes as they desperately searched for a goal.
Barcelona made 54 crosses in total, their second-highest tally in a single La Liga game since at least 2005/06.
We tried to win another way. We don’t have players one-on-one or with speed.
“We changed our style a little bit,” Koeman said after the result, which leaves them in seventh place on eight points, five behind leaders Real Madrid who have played a game more.
“If you see the list of players, what do you do? Play tiki-taka? Tiki-taka when there are no spaces?
“We did what we had to do. We tried to win another way. We don’t have players one-on-one or with speed. We’re talking… I’m not going to say more because it seems I have to argue about everything.”
Barcelona have long been associated with the style of football introduced by Johan Cruyff and developed by Pep Guardiola.
Koeman added: “We know it’s maybe not Barcelona’s football, but this Barcelona is not that of eight years ago.”
‘But what Barcelona is this?’
Just 27,000 supporters were at the Nou Camp for the match despite 40,000 tickets being available and many of those that were left at full time whistled the Barcelona players as they walked off.
Koeman’s Barcelona were depleted by injuries with Jordi Alba, Pedri, Ansu Fati, Martin Braithwaite, Ousmane Dembele and Sergio Aguero all out.
The summer exits of Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Emerson Royal and Miralem Pjanic followed a summer in which the Barcelona president admitted the club is in a “very worrying” financial position.
But the Spanish press remained critical following the draw with Granada, with Marca headlining its newspaper: ‘But what Barcelona is this?’
Catalan newspaper Diario Sport blamed a ‘lack of resources’ while Madrid-based Diario AS labelled Koeman’s side ‘dull’.
Barcelona are reportedly considering options to replace Koeman as head coach, with Belgium boss Roberto Martinez and former midfielder Xavi linked with the job.
Asked about the increasing pressure on his position, Koeman said: “I am not going to talk any more about my future.”
‘The opposite of tiki-taka’
Koeman’s days are likely to be numbered, according to La Liga TV presenter Semra Hunter, but she believes the current crisis is not entirely his fault.
“Last night was a direct consequence of the years and years of mismanagement and poor decision-making by the club,” she told Sky Sports News.
“It’s led to a point where any club has lost the fear when they come to the Camp Nou.
“Most people when you think of Barca what comes to mind is Pep Guardiola, tiki-taka, possession-based football, building through the middle. Last night was the direct opposite of that.
“The idea was to whip in crosses and hope for the best. It worked, but it was a draw that felt like a defeat.”