The sun was shining in south Madrid, and for the most part of their match against Getafe, a number of Barcelona players looked like they were on the beach.
Performance levels were disgustingly low against a reasonably resolute Getafe side, but who aren’t any great shakes in all honesty.
What has to be a concern for Xavi is that this is a worrying theme that’s developing again at the back end of a season, with a similar scenario occurring after the Eintracht game in 2021-22.
Culers are used to seeing football to die for. Short, sharp passing carousels, with pincer movements up front to make the difference when it matters.
Just lately, play has been laboured and - unforgivably in my eyes - there’s been a penchant for some of Barca’s players to play ‘hit and hope’ football.
We should give credit to Getafe for making life difficult of course, because the Catalans can’t expect to steamroller every team every week, however, it’s right to expect, nay demand, a certain standard from the squad.
They have, in the last three games, been woefully short of those high standards. Sloppy, even, and never better evidenced that Kounde’s shocking attempt at a pass in the 68th minute which, had Portu been a little more decisive, could’ve led to a goal.
Thank goodness Barca are so far ahead of their nearest rivals, because giving Real Madrid a sniff of the title could be fatal.
Xavi needs to address matters more urgently in matches too. If something clearly isn’t working, change it at half-time.
This need to keep things ticking along until the hour mark before making any significant substitutions is an odd way to manage.
Even if we take into account that the team would be so much better with Pedri, Frenkie and Ousmane Dembele in situ, the squad should still have enough about it to show much, much more than they have in the last three matches.
Where was the quality to get even the basics right?
They haven’t won the title - yet, and it’s not acceptable to be coasting through games with no intensity or drive. To be second to every ball and to be knocking it around like they’re in a training match.
On the day Gavi at least made his presence felt, though his yellow early on undoubtedly did much to stifle his particular brand of physicality.
Just as winning is a habit, so is getting stuck in a rut where almost nothing comes off and a lack of confidence results.
With Atletico up next, the fact that there’s still room to breathe in the title race shouldn’t even enter anyone’s thinking.
Grab the game by the horns and show everyone what Barca are truly about.