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Ernesto Valverde has run out of excuses at Barcelona

Poor away performance again at the RCDE Stadium

RCD Espanyol v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

My word that was bad.

Was it really too much to ask to beat the bottom club in the league who’ve been so devoid of confidence of late that three points was virtually guaranteed? Clearly it was.

Aside from two masterful pieces of skill from Luis Suarez, a towering header from Arturo Vidal - who injected some much-needed fight into the side - and a run as well as a half chance from Lionel Messi, there was nothing for Barca fans to get excited about.

Absolutely nothing.

In fact, the whole away performance was indicative of what this side has become under Ernesto Valverde. Boring and predictable.

Previously in this column I’d been a staunch defender of the Basque, going as far as too suggest that his overall record deserves more than cursory appreciation. No more.

Once again we’ve had to witness a performance that’s so far removed from what is expected of the Blaugranes.

Forget the glory years under Guardiola and Enrique too. That’s not the barometer to measure Valverde against. This is even worse than when Tata Martino was in situ.

And the question is, where do we go from here realistically?

There’s genuine belief from many that we could be toppled by Napoli in the Champions League, given our record against Italian sides, and, frankly, if we can’t get our act together on the road, we’ll be lucky to finish in La Liga’s top three.

How on earth we are still top of the pile, albeit on goal difference, is baffling. Perhaps it’s because of sitting atop that lofty perch that Josep Maria Bartomeu can still crow about Valverde being the right man for the job.

The Spanish Super Cup at least gives some respite from league games, and given suspensions and injuries it should be Valverde’s priority to play the reserves and youth players in a tournament which has come at precisely the wrong time.

Winning that wouldn’t come close to making up for the pathetic fare we are being served up week in and week out, however. A line has to be drawn in the sand, and Saturday night was it.

When the players looked for inspiration there was none. Frenkie’s red card didn’t help matters, but the substitutions, formation and way of playing was entirely predictable.

Espanyol were much the better side until we equalised and, with respect, that’s not acceptable. Not for culers in any event.

Bossed by the league’s bottom club. Just think about that for a second...

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