Where to start with this one?!
From the moment that Sergi Roberto was named in the starting XI instead of Malcom, this Copa del Rey final had an air of inevitability about it.
A ripped tifo before kick-off was another comical sign that all was not going to be well for Barca against Los Che.
And so it proved.
Despite hardly letting Valencia breathe for the first few minutes of the final, the Blaugranes did nothing with their possession, and were it not for Gerard Pique’s effort in getting back to deny Rodrigo, Barca would’ve been behind far earlier than they were.
Let’s not sugar coat the 90 minutes either. Valverde’s side were awful for the most part.
Against a side that had beaten Barcelona on only three occasions out of the last 30 matches in all competitions in the last 11 years.
Against a coach that had never beaten them before, in god knows how many years of trying.
That’s not acceptable.
Marcelino’s all-time managerial record against Barcelona:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 25, 2019
If you’re going to win one, may as well make it a cup final. pic.twitter.com/mb0XhtgIEU
Moreover, Valencia fully deserved their win, there’s no blaming this one on an ‘off night.’
The warning signs were there long before the actual game too.
Pique’s candour in an interview in the lead up to the final was admirable, but it also hinted at a collective mindset that wasn’t in good shape.
Injuries played a part in team selection but that can’t be used as an excuse either.
The way Dani Parejo was allowed to stroke the ball around in particular was criminal.
Dani Parejo crying as he leaves the pitch.— Paco Polit English (@pacopolitENG) May 25, 2019
Consistent MVP the whole season.
Played 55 of the 60 official VCF games.
Got injured in his 56th game out of 61.
Best midfielder in the 2018-2019 season. Will fight with my sword vs anyone who tries to argue against this.
What’s happened to the Barca that suffocated teams in games, didn’t allow their opponents to string passes together, and certainly would never give them the freedom of the pitch to execute counter after counter?
The wider issue is that the pressure on Josep Maria Bartomeu to sack Valverde will reach fever pitch now. And yet, in the immediate aftermath of the defeat, the president wasn’t for turning.
It’s unlikely that he’ll change his stance either, particularly given that the coach has the unequivocal backing of the dressing room.
Bartomeu says Valverde not to blame for Copa loss. Valverde says he’s feeling OK after disastrous end to Barça’s season https://t.co/HFijiYPIIz— Samuel Marsden (@samuelmarsden) May 26, 2019
Assuming the status quo remains the same, and there’s no reason to think otherwise, it’s imperative that the right players are secured quickly in this summer’s transfer window.
Not just big names who might add a few thousand to the attendance or help gain another high profile sponsor or two. Players who fit the Barca style and who put ‘team before I.’
A few new faces here and there won’t necessarily change things overnight either, but it will lay the foundations from which the club and team can build for the future.
Some of the high-earners Barcelona may need to shift off their enormous wage bill if they're to bring in new signings pic.twitter.com/rve75rSxrQ— Sport360° (@Sport360) May 22, 2019
As important will be the outgoing transfer business because it’s clear to anyone with half a brain that there are passengers in that side now, and that’s unforgivable at Barca.
In the meantime, the president, players and coaching staff need to front up and tell it as it is. That means taking full responsibility - from the top echelons of the club to the bottom.
Let’s see who’s man enough to do so...