Barcelona, if anything, has been consistently inconsistent over the past two seasons.
Perhaps that’s as far as individual talent can take you without leadership and group identity.
We saw everything that this Barcelona team has become against Celta Vigo on Saturday.
Ansu Fati sparks the team with a characteristically lethal finish.
The early goal generates a wave of confidence, and along the way, we get a glimpse of how excellent some of these players are capable of being.
Nico Gonzalez and Jordi Alba, in particular, looked like they were auditioning for their new manager. They weren’t alone, and for 44 minutes it looked like the whole team was collectively determined to give Xavi some positivity to start his tenure with.
And then a moment of adversity, and it became more clear than ever who the leader of this Barcelona team is.
The absence of Ansu at the end of the first half led to the absence of belief. No more creativity, no more danger.
And Celta Vigo seemed to know it, coming out of the dressing room ready to test the fragile resolve of a Barcelona team with a reputation for collapsing under pressure.
Dropped points making Xavi’s mission even more challenging, if not impossible.
And then again, I have a hard time imagining that Xavi would allow his team to play with so much fear, and lack of a plan. I can already imagine him giving direction at half-time, and then coaching hard from the sideline demanding it’s put into action.
That will be the biggest, and most welcome change of all.
You could see the look of helplessness grow on the Barca faces as each consecutive second half goal was put in.
One mistake that Marc-Andre ter Stegen will have to own, but no response from the team to lift him back up.
That’s where world class coaches go to work. Make a change. Make some noise. Remind the players that they are the Catalan giants. Implore them to fight back.
For Xavi, this is as much an opportunity as a challenge.
Expectations couldn’t be lower, and hopes couldn’t be higher.
The club and fans are behind him, and will be patient with results.
The performances, however, need to be better. The attitude, the intensity, the consistency.
Figure out and tweak the tactics along the way, but right now those players, as dismal as it may seem with the injuries, need to do better, and they need a coach who brings it out in them.
Tomorrow a new era begins, and the excitement of change is stronger than the disappointment of yet another sad and unsurprising result.
Xavi, it’s in your hands now.
This is the stuff legends are made of. Let’s see what you can do.