After losing to Granada recently reports suggest that players are losing faith in the manager as it should have been an easy win for Barcelona as predicted by many pundits.
The club’s poor start is being felt by the players after Barcelona has won only two of their five matches in La Liga till now and the club is certainly not familiar to such situation. Barcelona is known for their ruthlessness when it comes to any La Liga or Champions League matches. Though the season has just commenced yet they are not happy to be lagging behind either Atletico Madrid or Real Madrid in this early phases of the season.
There have been reports of unrest in the dressing room after the Granada match as they believe the team is playing without intensity and lacking creativity. Reports at the time showed that many on the Barcelona board wanted him out right away, but the club’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, overruled them and isn’t ready to sack Valverde just yet as he believes it takes time for any fresh players like Griezmann, De Gong and all to come into a new club under a new manager and adapt to his style of play.
With players like Suarez, Messi and Dembele missing Valverde have a very strong excuse to support Barcelona’s shaky start to the season. Messi just played two games till now but both of them were very limited by lack of minutes and an excess of rustiness. But if Valverde remains dependent on Messi then that’s a bad sign for the whole team.
Ernesto Valverde who survived just barely from getting sacked after bottling the Champions League against Liverpool and then a Copa del Rey final loss has another possible defence, having won two La Liga back to back he is taking La Liga less seriously, and talking it basically like a long tune-up to the champions league but he has received equal if not more attention for two Champions League crashes in crucial moments. Players backed Valverde even after the last season but they now are starting to turn on him as reported. Bartomeu does not want to be seen making a rash decision to reverse the choice he made just a few months ago. There’s a sense of malaise at the club that will be hard to get rid of quickly, although changing managers presents the cleanest solution for that. While the players deserve a lot of the blame too, the old adage that you cannot replace your entire squad, but you can replace a manager, stands.
Valverde, when asked about if he is in under pressure, replied “This is how things are in football. You are in crisis every three days and you can come out of it just as quick. That’s what we have to try and do. The only way to calm things down is to pick up six points this week. Coaches are always under scrutiny. That’s not something new. That’s the position I’m in and have been from the start. We haven’t started well this season and now we have to make up lost ground. We have to get ourselves out of this situation just like we did when we were in a rut last year. Last season we only picked up two points from nine and we still went on to win the league. That’s what we have to try and do now."
Barcelona are at home to Villarreal next and will be expected to bounce back but from their disaster at Granada. A trip to Getafe follows before the visit of Inter Milan in the Champions League.