A few disappointing results and a coach on the edge - oh yes, it’s just another day of crisis at FC Barcelona. It’s not the first and not the last. It lead to the dismissal of Ernesto Valverde. It almost got Luis Enrique fired - twice. These are periods in which the results are bad, the play isn’t great, and the coach is questioned.
Normally, the team has a bit of time to reflect. Not so now. With the schedule tightly packed due to the pandemic, there is a match right around the corner. And not just any match, but Atlético Madrid. Possibly the most difficult match left, at least on paper. And not winning would probably signify a knockout blow in the title race.
Barcelona simply can’t afford to dwell on the bad, at least not if they want to keep their title hopes alive.
Quique Setién was brought into an extremely difficult position. He had no role in creating the squad, and in fact, he came in just as the team sold off many players. Meanwhile, long-term injuries to key figures sapped the team as well. And after all that, coronavirus hit.
Still, the confidence in him is reaching rock-bottom. The players seemed genuinely annoyed at him lately, with Luis Suárez publicly blaming him for some of the team’s deficiencies.
Setién came in as an ideologue, attempting to shift the team into a more possession-heavy version and even going to a three-man line at one point. That’s all gone, and instead he has a team that seems to be reverting to the Valverde model. Perhaps that’s the only way this squad can play, given the way it was built, but if that was the case, then what exactly was the point of sacking Valverde in the first place?
For all the legitimate complaints about Valverde, he was two out of two in league crowns, and he was in the lead for this title race as well. That’s going to weigh heavily on whether Barcelona decide to keep Setién at the end of the season - if indeed, he even makes it that far.
There’s a reason Xavi did not accept joining in the middle of the season, and Setién probably only did because he knew he’d likely never get another chance.
But none of that matters right now. There’s a game tomorrow.