UEFA Champions League: Dismal Barca battered by Benfica as pressure on Koeman mounts

After 0-3 loss to Benfica on Wednesday, Barca is at the bottom of Group E with no points from two games, six behind leader Bayern Munich and four adrift of Benfica.

Eric Garcia of FC Barcelona receives a red card from referee Daniele Orsato during the 0-3 loss to SL Benfica in the UEFA Champions League group E match on Wednesday.   -  Getty Images

Benfica humbled Barcelona 3-0 on Wednesday to pile the pressure on its coach Ronald Koeman with the Spanish club's Champions League hopes hanging by a thread.

Barca is at the bottom of Group E with no points from two games, six behind leader Bayern Munich and four adrift of Benfica.

"At the end of the day, the easy thing is getting rid of the coach, but we are all responsible. The truth is we're in a critical situation," Barca captain Sergio Busquets said.

"We're only two games into the group stage. We need to focus on improving."

"We need to win our next two games against Dynamo Kiev and see how the other two get on. There's a long way to go and we need to try and be positive."

Things started badly for the Catalans as Darwin Nunez opened the scoring after three minutes with a neat near-post finish.

Lucas Verissima made a last-ditch block to deny Luuk de Jong from close range as Barca looked to get back into the game, but it was second best throughout.

Its plight was summed up on the half hour when Koeman substituted Gerard Pique, who had been booked and lucky to avoid a second yellow, for 17-year-old midfielder Gavi.

READ: UEFA Champions League: Lewandowski scores twice as Bayern demolishes Dynamo Kyiv 5-0

Nunez almost added a second five minutes after the break when he hit the post from distance after beating Marc-Andre ter Stegen to a through ball.

With 21 minutes left Jorge Jesus's side got its reward as Rafa Silva fired in from close range after Ter Stegen had denied Joao Mario.

Nunez doubled his tally from the penalty spot on 79 minutes after VAR spotted a handball by Sergino Dest.

Eric Garcia was sent off for a second yellow card three minutes from time as a bad night turned to worse for Barca, and the defender will miss the must-win home game against Dynamo Kyiv next month.

After the loss, Koeman asked for Barca to be more clinical.

"It's a tough result to take, and it's not what we saw on the pitch," he said.

"While we conceded early, we were good until it became 2-0. We had a number of chances to score and didn't take them. That's how you change games."

"If they score the three chances they create and we don't, then that's the big difference between the sides."

Koeman insisted the players were behind him as they bid to turn their form around, but he said he did not know if the board felt the same.

"I'm not going to argue about the level of my team. There's no point in comparing this with Barcelona teams of years gone by. That's as clear as water," the Dutchman said.

"I can only give you my opinion of my work at the club - I feel backed by my players and their attitude. The rest, the club, I'm not sure ... I can't say any more, because I don't know what the club thinks in that sense. It's not in my hands."

Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong said sacking him would not solve the club's problems.

"I don't think changing the coach is the solution," De Jong said. "I can't talk about Koeman, it's not my place."

"We have to keep fighting, stay together and overcome this situation. We can only escape this with hard work and being united as a team."

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