Pep has left and Tito is in the hospital which can only mean: FCB is turning out to be a bust leading up to the 2012/13 season’s end and in the grand slams!
It has taken some time, but sure enough, the lack of not having an actual coach has finally caught up with Puyol and company. The fallout, as you can imagine, is as spectacularly ugly as expected.
Real Madrid FC destroyed FC Barcelona 3 - 1 in front of a packed Camp Nou, FCB's home.
FCB's dip in form started showing in the last few weeks but there is much more to it that just form. In the last three games, FCB were defeated 2-0 by a relatively mediocre Inter Milan in the UEFA CL quarter finals’ first leg. Then they had to come from behind to win their last La Liga game against Sevilla.
Today, after yet another humiliating defeat, I hope and pray that it is glaringly evident, especially to the FCB's senior management team, that their team lack two important things: a solid defensive line; and a proper coach with the tactical knowledge and experience required at this level.
Roura is clearly not the right person to take charge of a team that is competing in the later stages of UEFA CL or in an EL Clasico match. This is not a kiddie-soccer-team playing in the MLS or the Scottish Premier League. This is, almost unanimously referred to as the best club-team in history! The team that boasts players like Puyol, Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc, Villa, Pedro and Messi - the only player in the world who has won 4 Ballon D'or titles in a row! If a team’s performance during pressure situations can accurately portray (or highlight) the unique strengths and the weaknesses of the coach, then this FCB is a testament to Roura’s failings. A good coach is someone who can sort out the team during moments of crisis with tactical strategies, vision and leadership. Roura does not seem to show any inkling of possessing such qualities.
I remember the team's attitude during the Guardiola era (Why oh why did you have to leave Pep?). Then I look at how they behave on the pitch now and they hardly seem to be the same team. Yes, the names on the roster are the same but there is a world of difference between individual talents and team performance - essentially the FCB philosophy. What happened? The lack of a coach's presence happened. No matter how good the team roster, a coach is a coach is a coach. If anyone still fails to understand this simple fact, then, the only phrase I can come up with is you are blissfully ignorant. What else can I say that hasn't already been proven by Messi's FCB in the last couple of weeks?
From the starting XI to actual tactics, Roura’s team is as predictable as Mourinho's love for himself. There is no spark in the team; no creativity that renders even opposition fans speechless; no Messi-esque determination to reach the opposition's penalty box no matter how many defenders are hacking away at the feet; no hunger to win back the ball; no vision in the final third up front of the pitch.
At this rate I am afraid even a bottom-10-team from EPL would be able to nullify FC Barcelona with just the right bit of effort. The anti-total-football tactic is simple, choke out Messi and Iniesta and / or Xavi while applying high pressure on the FCB defence and the probability of FCB scoring or refraining their opponents from scoring is horrifyingly low.
The next game against Real Mardrid is just a formality. FCB has the 2012/13 La Liga title in the bag thanks to Tito’s presence in the FCB dugout during the first portion of this season. The next game however, the second leg of the UEFA CL quarter finals is a crucial one. I sincerely hope Tito is back before then. Otherwise I vote for one of the starting XI (or Roura’s assistant) to take temporary charge of the team till Tito is out of treatment. Can it actually get any worse than it is now?
And just to be clear, hopefully I was able to bust the myth that a good team can win games and titles without a coach’s vision, strategies and leadership. No matter how many Messi, Xavi or Iniesta you can put in a team, there simply are no replacements for a good coach.
FCB for life.