This one is a hard pill to swallow.
Gavi, the most hard working and aggressive player on the field, was in desperate need of being saved from himself. Instead, being left to shoot himself in the foot with his own best weapon. That one is on his coach.
The substitution was screaming out the moment Gavi picked up an early yellow card, a needed tactical foul to kill a potentially dangerous counter attack.
But Xavi never made the move, and was made to pay for it in the 80th minute as his team was looking to see out the game with a slim and critical one-goal lead.
A young manager and a young player. Both full of so much potential, but naïve and costing their team not just the win, but precious momentum that was building since the start of the year.
The pattern of dropping points late must be addressed whatever it takes.
6 - Only Cádiz (7) have lost more points after conceding goals after the 85th minute of games than Barcelona in LaLiga this season (6, level with Atlético, Getafe, Mallorca and Granada). Wheeze.— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 8, 2022
Up until those late moments, Xavi had made all the right moves.
A spot on starting 11, getting the most out of Luuk de Jong, who was severely unlucky to have an early goal taken away, with tactics that were well suited to break down the low block Granada was content to play in.
And it’s not just Luuk who’s been seeing a turnaround in fortune.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen has been sterling of late, only to see himself regress at a time when the game should have been in the bag.
Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets were giving stellar performances, running back the hands of time with a certain former teammate.
The way things were going most of the game, the headline should have been how the spirit of Dani Alves was carrying the team to victory with vintage crosses, creativity, and brave tackles.
How Ferran Jutgla and Nico continue to impress while making undropable contributions.
How Xavi’s leadership is keeping the group organized and in a position to win.
This team has so much potential, but will need to grow up fast.
La Liga is unforgiving. Even bottom of the table teams have the quality to make you pay in any given game.
And yet, in spite of the heartbreaking result, you have to applaud so much of the effort.
You can see what this team is trying to do and develop into.
They are young and need continued support and encouragement from the fanbase.
One important lesson from the past few seasons is maintaining a positive culture that promotes growth and learning.
This must be one small step back, only to be followed by two big steps forward.
Onward Gavi. Onward Xavi.
No time to feel sorry for yourself, make up for it in the next one.
The team is getting healthier, and new signings are on the way. It can only get easier from here with the right attitude and ambition.
They can learn from this experience.
With the addition of a proven winner like Dani Alves, I have a feeling the dressing room was full of positive and hopeful energy.
Ready to get back up and fight again.