Barcelona have won the league twice with him in charge and seem set to capture the Copa del Rey for a second time out of two tries as well, with a final against Valencia on the horizon.
Barça had rest and time to prepare. So why did the likes of Jordi Alba and Gerard Piqué have some of their worst performances not just this season, but in several seasons? Why were they ultimately undone by a quick corner in which the players were not sharp enough to react?
This points to a lack of mental preparation when they are in unforeseen circumstances. Despite getting a contract renewal earlier this season and apparently having support from the senior players, Valverde may be in trouble. Surely, the fans will demand his head.
Is it rash? Or are these two exits sign of a pattern that can no longer be ignored?
When speaking of firing a manager, the first question you have to ask is: who would replace him? Would that person be an upgrade?
Enter Erik ten Hag. It’s set up almost perfectly, to be honest, for him to get the job. The Ajax boss has led the Amsterdam club to the verge of the Champions League final. Even if they do not make it and are eliminated by Tottenham Hotspur, it is a massive over-achievement.
With Barcelona already signing one of his pupils (Frenkie de Jong) and another possibly on the way (Matthijs de Ligt), it would make sense. Ten Hag also plays with a style that Barça fans crave.
If Ten Hag is not hired now, there’s a chance that he may sign for a wealthy club which will give him a project of 3 years or so. Paris Saint-Germain have been rumored to be his suitors now. If Barcelona don’t get Ten Hag now, when will be their next chance?
Would the action be rash or decisive?
For the moment, the Catalans will keep Valverde and play the cup final. There’s no need to rush this kind of decision. But as the weeks go by, it’s something that has to be considered.