Europe and Barca.

Atletico in 2016, Juventus in 2017, Roma in 2018, Liverpool in 2019, Bayern in 2020, PSG in 2021, Frankfurt, Benfica, Bayern, inter, and Manchester united in 2022 and 2023. the European exits continue and the list piles on. Luis, Ernesto, Seiten, Koeman, and now Xavi. 5 managers have been unable to crack the code in Europe in 8 years ! they have done magnificently in Spain and are top tier coaches, but what is it that's halting barca in Europe ?

After seeing all these games what I personally think is that we have lacked the intensity and speed to compete in big games. To play for Barca the players need to be highly technical and have a good brain on their shoulder. but this brain is of no use if the player can't play, or in this case pass the ball and create space quickly for his teammate if he's not fast or is physically tired. To win the match the players must win their personal battles first before ultimately winning the whole game,

From 2016 we have lacked this physicality which includes speed, stamina and winning those aerial duels to actually keep the ball. Yes we are pressing well now under Xavi, but what is the benefit of this press if one gets dribbled past and he can't keep up with his man's speed and even if he is the player is not physical enough to get his man off the ball, this lets the backline very exposed, yes most of the times the backline can bail you out but it's the 'sometimes' that's so important in big games. It's the little minute details that accumulate and eventually helps decide between two big teams playing a game.

In the last few years, we have had Excellent passers of the ball with great technical skills like Iniesta, Busquets, Rakitic, Pique, Alba, Suarez, Roberto, Alonso, Alonso, Raphinha, Coutinho, Lenglet and the list goes on. What each of them has in common is that they lack the intensity needed at the highest levels. Even if they have speed they lack the physicality and even if they have physicality they lack the speed. Over the years they got slower and slower exposing the back time and time and time again. I'm not criticizing the players at all, they are the legends of the game but getting slower or lacking in physicality over the years is a part of football. A defender being slow is nothing new in football the player then defends in a different way the prime example of this is Thiago Silva playing in the premier league at 38 but he plays with fast players in a symbiotic way helping each other cover their weaknesses. having the whole team with slow players is just absurd. Having no cover at all destroying players confidence like Lenglet, Coutinho etc.

Fast forward to 2023 and we still have Busquets, Roberto and Alonso playing in the same game against a top team and ultimately getting eliminated. We need more players like pedri, Gavi, Balde, Frenkie, Kounde, Christensen, Araujo. who are technical fast and win their duels and create space for each other. Its not just take the ball and pass the ball as pep only said this short phrase but in game he told his players to implement the following phrase as 'create space' take the ball and pass the ball quickly so that opposition can't take the ball away while also creating danger.

There are numerous players who fit this category but due to our financial situation we can't even fathom to purchase but there are even player who actually fit the above category and are even free/cheap on the market, Gundogan, Arnau Martinez, Evan N'dicka, Marcus Thuram, etc.

Xavi needs to address this be it in a more aggressive way like Ten Hag, not be persistent about players like Alonso and Roberto make sensible subs and lineups. This year should be about Laliga and Copa now, but next year if this happens again he could come under scrutiny. Let's hope we can come to winning ways again in Europe Inshallah.


<em>This does not represent the views of Barca Blaugranes or SBNation</em>