Just a few months after Xavi has steered his side to the Spanish league title, Barcelona’s former midfielder is feeling the pressure.
In a sign of how demanding the job remains and arguably why Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique got out early - (both eminently more successful then their contemporary but arguably with far better squads) - a handful of poor performances and results has culers calling for the coach’s head.
Their ire isn’t without foundation, however.
At present, there appears to be little inspiration or direction coming from the bench and the team are winning in spite of Xavi and not because of him.
In the entire time he’s been in situ as coach of the Blaugranes, his modus operandi seemingly hasn’t changed.
Subs around the 60 minute mark regardless of how well or badly the team are playing, putting players in wrong positions and with no discernible tactical plan appear to be a couple of odd features of his management style.
If Barca were playing teams off the park and scoring a ton of goals, nobody would raise an eyebrow - but they aren’t. Far from it in fact.
Over the last 11 games in all competitions, the Catalans have lost four matches, drawn two and won only five.
They’ve been beaten by Shakhtar Donetsk and Royal Antwerp in the Champions League, drawn with Rayo in La Liga, lost El Clasico from a winning position and when dominating the game, squeaked past Almeria and been soundly beaten by Girona in that time.
It’s no wonder then that the heat is on Xavi and his backroom team.
Unless there’s a sea change in performance levels on the pitch, then Barcelona can kiss goodbye to further progression in the Champions League.
That might be almost three months away at the time of writing, however, Xavi’s side have got to find their groove again.
Associative play has been disjointed and often predictable, and Xavi no longer has the excuse of not having a decent enough squad to coach.
Cancelo, Felix, Gundogan, De Jong, Lewandowski, Pedri, Araujo... to name just a few players that would get in most teams.
It’s clear that the club as a whole as well as the first-team are a work in progress, and with Xavi’s contract having recently been extended until 2025, it would appear that the club are willing to back him for now.
With Joan Laporta evidently starting to dictate regarding squad selection however - dangerous in itself - could it be that he too is getting a little impatient with the pace at which progress is moving?
A title is an absolute must in 2023/24, but unless Xavi can rally the troops significantly La Liga is out of the question.
Another Copa del Rey might just about be classed as acceptable, though if it comes down to just a Spanish Super Cup being the only silverware won this season, Xavi can likely kiss goodbye to the club of his life before they relocate back to the New Camp Nou.