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Ernesto Valverde out of his depth against Inter Milan in the Champions League

The team fought back to win 2-1 at the Camp Nou

FC Barcelona v FC Internazionale: Group F - UEFA Champions League Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Within two minutes, Barcelona had ceded this match to their Italian opponents.

That’s all it took for Ernesto Valverde to have that hang dog expression which we know so well. The one that says ‘what the hell do I do now?’

What did he do? Absolutely nothing is the answer.

Stood stock still on the sideline, his incredibly passive demeanour was in stark contrast to Antonio Conte’s manic arm waving and constant instruction.

FC Barcelona v Internazionale - UEFA Champions League Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

It seems clear to me at this point that Valverde’s insouciance and complete inability to motivate his staff is a major factor in why performances this season, but particularly against Inter, have been so flat.

If games are being won, it’s in spite of Valverde and not because of him.

Let’s pay credit to the Serie A table toppers too. Perfectly executed game plan, players given explicit and precise jobs to do, all of whom carried out their work to the letter.

Barca looked amateur at times, and there couldn’t have been any complaints if they were two or three down by the break.

For a team that supposedly have genuine aspirations of lifting the trophy this year, this has to be a wake up call.

Griezmann - out of position. De Jong - out of position.

FC Barcelona v Internazionale - UEFA Champions League Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Defensively shot to pieces and often bereft of creativity further up the pitch.

It’s not difficult, it’s impossible to take anything positive from that match.

And there’s no point in trying to make excuses either, because there are none.

We are extremely fortunate to still be in touch with the leaders in La Liga, and deservedly winless in Europe.

Individual players can, and should have the finger pointed at them, but the buck stops with the manager.

When the going gets tough, the best managers get going. Not Valverde, he just crouches down looking pensive. Can you imagine being inspired by that?!


The lack of cohesion and organisational structure is worrying, and there can’t have been another match where a front line of Messi, Griezmann and Suarez have looked so totally devoid of incisiveness and attacking threat, the Uruguayan’s fabulous finishes notwithstanding.

There has to be genuine concern that Barca could exit the Champions League early unless something drastic happens.

The board and players both offering up their support to the Basque is being shown to look foolish at best and, after such a first-half capitulation, amidst ongoing under-par showings, a forensic analysis of Valverde’s methods has to be conducted at the very least.

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