Home FEATURES HOW ERNESTO VALVERDE IS KILLING BARCELONA FOOTBALL INSTEAD OF MANAGING IT

HOW ERNESTO VALVERDE IS KILLING BARCELONA FOOTBALL INSTEAD OF MANAGING IT

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Joseph Omoniyi

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Cakes Studio Abuja

Magic, beauty, harmony, superb are some of the words that describe Barcelona’s style of play since the evolution of their playing pattern in 2008/’2009 thereabout. They became untouchable, invincible and the arguably the best team in the world, but today, the beautiful and total football invented at the Camp Nou, which inspired millions of fans and supporters is gradually becoming history, no thanks to Ernesto Valverde.

Popularly called tiki-taka (tiqui-taca in spanish), the beautiful style of play which was introduced by former coach and now manager of Manchester City, Pep Guardiola, brought many glory days for the Catalan Giants. Turning big opponents to ordinary teams. Making league champions appear like schoolboys teams. Rendering strong defenders to “mumu” on the pitch. Big wins, plenty goals and joy to the viewers.

These days, the team struggles to win games, with average performances every now and then. Thanks to the almighty Messi that makes once-in-a-blue-moon surprises possible.

After Pep left the Camp Nou, his Predecessors, Luis Enrique and Tito Vilanova all manged to keep the momentum and maintain the glory.

Tiki-taka works with a tradition 4-3-3 formation creating space in the pposition’s team and making the pitch too huge for them to play. This style works well with an harmonious, accelerating, highly creative front three that rely on one another’s ability.

However, under Valverde, the team seems to be too dependent on Messi’s magic to win even average games. He does almost everything; organisations, assists, goals. During the 2018/2019 season he single-handedly scored 51 goals, delivering 22 assists.

“When Messi is there, we have well-defined strenghts. When he’s not there, we miss a completely crucial player…” – Valaverde.

His style of play lacks fluidity. He passes the ball through the middle too often. When Messi is on the pitch, every pass MUST GO THROUGH HIM. This often restrict the team. The manager’s over-dependent on his management balance are also difficult to be unnoticed as his changes are usually ineffective.

He is also reluctant to put trust in the young players of the club. He only played Fati and Pererra because Griezman and Suarez were his only field attackers.

He is also reportedly not a manager for the physical-prepareation of the team, which has contributed to at least 7 major injuries for the team including Messi’s in this season already.

“The pre-season didn’t help us start well, with lots of travelling and not much training. Look what happened to Messi. Its not an excuse but the pre-season was not ideal” – Pique

Maybe the only reason the manger still has his job is that he has the backing of his players. The club definitely are not pleased, no wonder it took the president’s intervention to save him from being ‘axed’ in June 2019. But his luck may not be enough if he keeps piling up below average performances.

Do you think Ernesto Valverde can still turn things around at Barca? Or you foresee another succeeding him sooner?

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