Opinion: Valverde’s credit is starting to run out
Opinion The opinion of Luis F. Rojo
It was a shameful night in Granada for Barcelona. It’s not the first time either, as they’ve made the same mistakes on each of their last few trips away from the Camp Nou. It’s four away games without a win now, but it was the feeling of absolute powerlessness that was most worrying on Saturday. Before the clash away in Dortmund, Ernesto Valverde rejected claims that Barcelona‘s away record was becoming a bad trend. Two matches later, it’s now a major problem.
Valverde knew before the Granada game that Barcelona had to win, that they had to end this negativity associated with their away form. It’s evident that the coach’s team talk didn’t work. It took two minutes for Granada to score thanks to Junior Firpo‘s error. The trip to Pamplona also started badly against Osasuna.
The way Barcelona have begun these away games is partly the players’ fault, but it’s also down to the coach and his team talks. Barcelona don’t play anywhere near as well away as they do at home, neither in defence nor attack. They’re the team that have conceded the most goals in LaLiga Santander alongside Real Betis, which is a rather worrying statistic for a team that’s used to keeping clean sheets.
Barcelona‘s struggles going forward are also a concern. They seem to be waiting for Lionel Messi to come and save them like he has done a thousand times before. But there was no Messi in the first two away games and in the next two he hasn’t been 100 percent fit. On Saturday 16-year-old Ansu Fati was the main threat.
The attacking system isn’t working. Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez haven’t clicked properly yet. Suarez made an effort against Granada but Griezmann virtually disappeared. Valverde will take the blame. His credit is running out and there isn’t as much confidence in him due to the end to last season. This has been Barcelona‘s worst start to a campaign since LaLiga introduced three points for a win. Valverde isn’t the only one guilty of this sluggish start, but it’s a results business and the coaches often pay the price.