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The Barca captain was unhappy with his side's display against Ajax and says there needs to be an immediate improvement if they are to succeed in the Champions League

Barcelona captain Carles Puyol has criticised his side’s first-half performance in the 2-1 Champions League defeat to Ajax, saying they will suffer against other sides in Europe if there is no improvement.

Despite playing for most of the second half with a man advantage after Joel Veltman’s sending-off, Barca were unable to recover after going in two goals down at the break, though, Xavi did score from the penalty spot.

Puyol, who started at right-back with Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano named in the centre of defence, says there has to be an improvement.

“If we want to win in Europe, we cannot start games like that,” the defender told reporters.

“The idea is to have the ball, but when you have a team up against you which is snapping at your heels and also know how to play the ball around, this is what happens. They came out more intense from the start and were up for it more.

“If you are not up for it enough against teams like that, they will walk all over you.”

Puyol admits his own display was no better than that of his team-mates but did feel that they improved in the second half.

The 35-year-old added: “We had to change and we had 45 minutes to turn the result around.

"With the red card and the penalty, Ajax just went into their shells and we couldn't get the equaliser.

“You have to learn from every game and if we want to win things, we know we have to get better. This defeat should make all of us think, including me because I played badly.

“The first 25 minutes were difficult for everyone and I didn’t feel completely comfortable. The motivation from this loss has to help us to improve."

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