Frenkie de Jong admitted Barcelona hadn’t expected to lose to Almeria after Sunday’s disappointing 1-0 defeat in Andalusia.
A single goal from El Bilal Toure gave the struggling hosts all three points and a real boost in their bid to avoid relegation.
For Barcelona, it was a missed opportunity to go 10 points clear at the top of the table, and De Jong was pretty dejected after the final whistle.
“We are really disappointed,” he said “We had the chance to go 10 clear. Now it’s still seven but we did not expect to lose this game.
“They were really good defensively. We crossed a lot, especially second half, but they defended well. We have to attack better and create more danger.”
Barcelona now head into a Copa del Rey semi-final against Real Madrid, but De Jong denied his team had been distracted by Thursday’s big game.
“We have not thought about the Clasico. LaLiga is very important and the next game is always the most important ... things did not come off, especially in the first half. Now we have to keep going and work hard to improve.”
Xavi will have his work cut out getting the team back on track after consecutive defeats to Manchester United and Almeria and with Pedri and Ousmane Dembele still out through injury.