Only a month ago Barca celebrated the league title, and looked on the verge of securing another Treble. However, in a three week nightmare our good vibes turned into something else. Barca ended the season with two big losses – against Liverpool and Valencia, and finished the season without the UCL and the cup.
As we said in previous article, we live in an amazing time, with the best player of all times. However, having Messi with us has a side effect of great expectations. Therefore, the fans always demand winning everything, and this pressure is tough to handle. That is why successful coaches like Pep and Lucho left the club when they couldn’t take the pressure anymore.
The way we lost
There are some fans who will not settle for anything but winning everything, in a way that a double will mean failure. I’m not one of those, as I can remember Barca fighting for the forth position in the league in the start of the millennium. However, what bothers me is not the fact that we won ‘only’ the league title, but the way we play all season long.
Valverde took over in tough times, when we though the Barca era is ending, while Madrid starts their own era. However, with two league titles, Valverde did achieve something, and we should always be grateful for that.
However, Valverde’s solution to the state of the squad was to change the way that Barca plays. Barca became a “regular” team, with an irregular addition – Leo Messi. Therefore, having Leo Messi around to score 50 Goals and assist 15 more is great. It made Barca a team that secures the title quite easily. Although that’s great, the fans expect more.
As football fans, we know that failing is a part of the game. However, the way we lost against Roma last season, and Liverpool and Valencia this season is awful. For me, it shows that Valverde doesn’t have the mentality, the charisma and the leadership ability to lead this team.
The players are part of the problem
It’s no secret that the elilte of Barca players love Valverde this season. Players like Pique, Sergi Roberto, Alba, Busquets, Rakitic and Suarez joined Messi in his status of a player you can’t replace. That doesn’t matter how they play, how much they play, and how the bench players will perform – they are the first players on the board. However, that’s not healthy for any squad, let alone the growing squad of Barca.
Barca players got too comfortable, and when a sportsman gets too comfortable, it’s a dangerous situation. We saw that with Deco, Eto’o and Ronaldinho in 2008, and it takes a bold Manager to bench them, or even sell them. Does Valverde has the power to do that, in order to refresh the team? I don’t think so.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that, aside from Messi, the players who fought the most this season, are the ones that don’t have an easy life. Arthur, Arturo Vidal and Lenglet took advantage of every minute they had this season. I think it’s thanks to the fact that they don’t have a secure place in the starting lineup.
Thinking about the next season
First of all, I think that Valverde can’t continue as the club’s manager. Although he did his best, I think Barca needs more than a coach that turn us into “Bilbao with Messi”. Keeping Valverde around might turn into a disaster.
However, the board should replace some of the technical staff, and some of the players too. Just like Pep did in 2008, the next coach should take every player to a talk, and see who can fight to stay with the team, and who should leave. Will Coutinho stay? Only if he and the coach can restore his confidence and make him great again. Will Umtiti stay? Only if he will finally treat his knee. Same goes to many other players in the squad.
As recent reports suggest, Barca looks at some possible managers for next season: Koeman, Allegri, Unai Emery and Roberto Martinez are some of them. However, the Barca fans also think of Quique Setien as possible managers to replace Valverde. Although the departure of Valverde isn’t final, it seems like more than possible right now.
In my opinion, the best name of those is Ronald Koeman. Although he had a bad spell in Everton, he also did great for Southhampton, Ajax and the Netherlands NT. Furthermore, Koeman enjoys the status of a legend in Barca’s history, and he might have the power to make changes.
In the next few weeks we will keep updating about the recent Barca news. In addition, we will cover every position in our squad, in the end of this season, and with the look at the next Barca season. We already did it with the goalkeeper position.