Remember that famous saying that ‘you’ll never win anything with kids.’
It came from the mouth of BBC Sport pundit, Alan Hansen, back in the early 1990s and related to Sir Alex Ferguson’s blooding of the Class of 92 at Manchester United.
Of course, we all recall what happened thereafter, with Messrs. Beckham, Scholes, Butt, Giggs and Neville (x2) going on to become household names in the game.
Barcelona’s performance against Mallorca certainly hints at better times ahead for the Catalans.
Whether our youngsters will go on to emulate United’s stars will only be seen in time, but there are definitely encouraging signs.
It’s worth pointing out too that Barca rarely do well in the first game of a new year, and let’s not look to an under-par Mallorca performance as a way of justifying ours.
Son Moix (or the Visit Mallorca Stadium if you prefer) had already seen Sevilla held, and Mallorca have also drawn with Valencia and Real Betis as well as beating Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano, so we should take nothing away from the visitors on this occasion.
Barca were excellent value for their victory even if they rode their luck at times.
What was particularly pleasing aside from what is becoming a hallmark of Xavi’s Barca - consistently playing on the front foot - was the shape of the side.
Everyone knew their role and did their jobs well in the main, with the wide men hugging the touchline and really opening up the pitch.
Defenders pressed high, the midfield snapped away at the heels of the opposition whilst keeping control of possession and making Mallorca work hard for any openings.
Ter Stegen has been rightly criticised of late but deserves all of the plaudits after his match-saving block at the death.
Even Luuk de Jong should be afforded more than a cursory mention this week thanks to his winner, and a showing which evidences that there is still a player there, if the team plays to his strengths.
Unfortunately for the Dutchman, his skill set is still limited and he’s unlikely to be at the club for much longer. How good would it have been to see that scissor kick go in though?!
With the likes of Ansu, Pedri, Busi et al to return in due course, and Ferran Torres too if the club can get him registered, there’s every reason to believe that things are finally looking up for Xavi and the squad.