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No scapegoats on a night when Barcelona were well beaten

Great away performance by Frankfurt

FC Barcelona - Eintracht Frankfurt Photo by Arne Dedert/picture alliance via Getty Images

Sometimes you just have to admit you were beaten by the better side.

Eintracht Frankfurt came to Camp Nou with a game plan and they followed it to the letter. Frankly, they were excellent.

On the night they were everything Barcelona were not.

Disciplined, organised and confident in being on the front foot in possession, it was a worthy victory.

What it showed is that, once again, when a visiting team decide to play five at the back and hit Barça on the break, dismantling the high line in the process, the Catalans don’t really have an answer — whatever team they have out.

FC Barcelona v Eintracht Frankfurt: Quarter Final Leg Two - UEFA Europa League Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

It’s as true now as it was when Lionel Messi was in his pomp in Blaugrana.

In many respects it’s not a defeat to be pinned on anyone in particular. Xavi Hernández didn’t really get his tactics wrong, and the players for the most part weren’t that bad.

He and they just didn’t have the nous in the big moments, and it just so happened that an Eintracht side turned everything they touched to gold.

Conceding such an early penalty clearly turned any script on its head, and were Gerard Piqué in situ perhaps that scenario wouldn’t have come to pass.

That would be harsh on Eric García, however. The youngster is still learning his trade and will almost certainly take on board the lessons from Thursday’s game. On another night, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would’ve had at least a brace.

Ousmane Dembélé was, once again, a great shout for Barça’s man of the match. The Frenchman has had a vintage season since Xavi took over and has arguably been the talisman in every game he’s played of late.

FC Barcelona v Eintracht Frankfurt: Quarter Final Leg Two - UEFA Europa League Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Again on Thursday he did almost everything right, but it just wasn’t to be.

The wider issue now of course is the race for Champions League qualification through league position.

Will going out of a competition that they were the heaviest of favourites for affect confidence in the run-in? Will it make them more determined than ever to hunt Real Madrid down until the last minute of the last game?

This is where Xavi will earn his stripes as a manager. Picking the team up after what will be a devastating loss. A young team effectively still in its infancy but on an absolute high because of great results in the last couple of months.

It was a disappointing evening for sure, but ultimately one that has to be seen as an opportunity to grow rather than to look for scapegoats.

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