Former Barcelona striker Luis Suarez heaped more misery on his old club as Atletico Madrid claimed a 2-0 La Liga victory over the Catalans at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday.
First-half strikes from Thomas Lemar and Suarez were enough for the champion to secure all three points and heap pressure on the visitor's beleaguered boss Ronald Koeman.
Barca has won just one game in its last six in all competitions as its early season struggles show no signs of easing.
"We're suffering, I'm going to be honest with you," Barca defender Gerard Pique said.
"We started well enough, we were brave, but then they create two identical situations and scored twice - whereas we could've played for three hours and not scored.
"It isn't one problem, there are several. People can see what we lack. But we'll recover. They're difficult times, a lot of us haven't experienced this before. We want to turn it around but it isn't easy."
Atletico started brighter and went close through Lemar and Joao Felix efforts from the edge of the box before the Frenchman opened the scoring in the 23rd minute.
Felix fed Suarez, who played a brilliant ball round the corner to send Lemar through and he powered his effort past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Suarez then missed a glorious chance to double the lead moments later as he skewed a one-on-one effort wide, but made no mistake on the stroke of halftime after Lemar returned the favour to tee him up.
Barca's best opportunity to get back into the game fell to Philippe Coutinho, however the Brazilian's tame effort was comfortable saved by Jan Oblak.
Koeman grateful for vote of confidence
After the match, Koeman thanked club president Joan Laporta for publicly giving him a vote of confidence.
Laporta said on Saturday, before Barcelona's defeat to Atletico, that he had spoken to Koeman and the Dutchman deserved time to change the club's fortunes around after a stuttering start to the season.
"It's important and well done for his part because if everything isn't clear in this sense then it's difficult to work and have the kind of calm you need to try and make the changes we are trying to implement," Koeman said.
"We know how it is from today moving forwards ... We spoke last night on the phone and then again this morning."
Despite Laporta's backing, Koeman acknowledged things needed to change.
"There's a solution (to what is happening), but it can't be done overnight. We have to work hard, give time to the youngsters and get back our injured forwards.
"At the end of the day it's a results game, and after the international break we have three must-win home games."
Victory moved Atletico level with table topper Real Madrid, who travels to Barca's city rival Espanyol on Sunday, on 17 points from eight games.
Barcelona, meanwhile, sits ninth with 12 points having played a game fewer. It hosts Valencia and Real Madrid in La Liga after the upcoming break, with Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League sandwiched in between those two fixtures.
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