This is final part of the Barca “report card” series, a look at the performance of the Barcelona players and staff during the 2019-2020 season.
This time around we are focusing on the manager, the president and giving an overall grade of Barcelona’s campaign.
Performances have been evaluated using the following criteria.
Exceeds Expectations: At Barca exceeding expectations is the only way to get a passing grade and this category shows you are in good standing.
Room for Improvement: Everyone at the club is here because they have at the very least shown great potential. If you fall in this category it’s because you aren’t quite realizing it, and yet you are still finding ways to contribute. Going forward though, more is expected.
Not Good Enough: This category implies that the performance was below the high standards of the club. It does not mean that there is no hope. Given the financial instability at the club, even players who fall here will need to be given chances to redeem themselves.
Grade for Quique Setien: Not Good Enough
If the goal was to have a temporary coach come in and finish the season after Valverde was sacked then Setien was a fine choice. He said he was going to bring back the Cruyff philosophy and after years of boring tactics under Valverde it was worth a try.
The problem is we haven’t seen a real attempt at it so far. Maybe it’s the attitude of the players. Are they uncoachable? When you hear stories of Eder Sarabia demanding intensity during training and receiving backlash one has to wonder if that’s the case.
If so then Barca will need a new manager with a strong personality and a clear vision. When the players talk about being self-critical they may also think about how this relates to the respect they show their coaches. At this point a new face with fresh ideas is probably the only way forward and he needs to be given a real chance.
Grade for Josep Maria Bartomeu: Not Good Enough
With power comes responsibility so any blame for the disappointing season needs to start at the top. And really, in spite of winning a few La Liga titles, it’s been many frustrating seasons in a row.
It’s scary for a club who loves spending money, and who has been able to stay at the top as a result of the money they spend, say they have no money to spend any more. No doubt that has you fearing the worst as a fan, but I believe because of the strong Barca brand they will be able to rebound if they get smart quickly.
This starts with letting the true soccer minds run the show. The best thing they could do is whatever it takes to bring Pep Guardiola back and give him all the decision making responsibility. Since this is not likely to happen this year, at the very least the club will have to stop breaking records for signing the most expensive players ever. It hasn’t paid off and it never will.
The situation with Arthur and Miralem Pjanic is a good example of Bartomeu’s problematic approach. So hard up for cash he had to swap a young player for an older player in Miralem Pjanic with a similar skill set. Juventus was thrilled. I think that Pjanic’s experience will be an asset, but it was still not good business. More interesting will be to watch the development of youngsters Pedri and Francisco Trincao. Both are coming off fantastic campaigns and if they are able to find success with the first team it could show a new path forward for future signings.
In addition to that Ansu, Riqui, and Araujo have opportunities to prove there is still magic in La Masia. Combine that with a new world class coach with innovative ideas and we may find that F.C. Barcelona has all the talent it needs right now to be the best team in Europe again.
Cumulative Grade for FC Barcelona: Not Good Enough
All Cules will agree that the team is not good enough at the moment. But eternally optimistic I can’t wait for another exciting La Liga season. Looking forward first to a Champions League campaign where the players show they are willing to play hard and compete for the trophy. Positivity there, dare I say even winning it all, would set us up for success in the new season.