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Barcelona far from their best in Copa del Rey but a win is welcomed

Great goals to light up the game

Unionistas v FC Barcelona - Copa del Rey Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

The absolute minimum expected from the Copa del Rey tie which saw Barcelona head to Unionistas de Salamanca was a win inside 90 minutes.

Up against the lowest-ranked team left in the competition, nothing else would be acceptable, and yet it still took the Catalans going behind to the team from the Spanish third tier to shake them out of their funk.

What’s more than worrying at this stage is that players such as Joao Felix were strolling around like they were playing with their mates in the park.

Where was the hustling and harrying of the opposition in the opening half hour? The consistent shutting down of space and ball recycling to tire out the hosts?

The very hallmarks of what a Barca side should possess were missing and that’s a damning indictment of where this particular squad are at, at the moment.

Forget Xavi just for a second.

Unionistas v FC Barcelona - Copa del Rey Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Name one player on the field of play in the first-half that it could genuinely be said had a good half? You can’t can you.

Perhaps the one bright spot was the delightful finish from Ferran Torres which quietened the crowd and also took the wind out of their sails.

Given how much time the No.7 had to think about where to place his shot, and how he’s often struggled when given time - rather than using his striker’s instinct - seeing the ball hit the back of the next has to have given him some much-needed confidence.

Unionistas v FC Barcelona - Copa del Rey Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

An evident half-time broadside from the manager saw Barca come out with the bit between their teeth, and two excellent goals from Jules Kounde and Alejandro Balde saw off any hopes of a cup upset.

If nothing else, it’ll keep the hounds at bay for a bit longer, but it can’t be argued that Barca were once again under par for long periods.

The passing wasn’t sharp or crisp enough, balls played to colleagues were delivered in a somewhat sloppy fashion and the laissez-faire attitude displayed by some deserves to see them sidelined for the foreseeable future.

That Robert Lewandowski, Pedri and Ilkay Gundogan had to be subbed on spoke volumes.

Joan Laporta’s face told its own story. For a man that is trying to push the Super League around Europe, this performance was another slap in the face.

On this evidence Xavi might just get to see out the season if he’s lucky, but no longer than that.

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