Ernesto Valverde cannot continue as Barcelona manager


Ernesto Valverde and his team’s collapse at Liverpool has put the manager’s future in question.

Coming into the return leg against Liverpool, Ernesto Valverde stressed that his side could not be complacent and they needed to learn from their exit last season against Roma. Neither he nor the team seemed to learn from it because Barcelona once again blew a three-goal advantage and were bounced from the competition.

Despite agreeing to a one-year extension, his future is now in doubt.

The first collapse could be chalked up to an anomaly. But a second straight one is the emergence of a pattern. A pattern that establishes that in the big games in the European competitions, Ernesto Valverde is out of his depth and that he is not the right manager for Barcelona.

His future season was still a success despite the loss to Roma because he came during a time of uncertainty following Neymar‘s departure to PSG. They lost Ousmane Dembeleearly in the season and he had to get the most out of a squad that wasn’t as talented as years past. However, this season he had an array of skilled players at his disposal. But as the season went one, it became evident who his gala-XI was and very seldom deviated from that even when some from those gala-XI struggled.

His insistence with players such as Philippe Coutinho wound up costing him in the end. Coutinho has had a difficult season and despite chance after chance, never really improved. Valverde stuck with him despite a player like Malcom waiting in the wings who showed displays of talent in the limited opportunities he received. Sticking with Coutinho in the Liverpool game cost them because he disappointed and Valverde subbed on Malcom when it was far too late.

The biggest criticism against Valverde is his passiveness when it comes to making changes and introducing players who could add speed on the flanks for what is an increasingly slow Barcelona side.

The core of this Barcelona team are all close to or on the wrong side of thirty. Such is the case for Messi, Suarez, Pique, Jordi Alba, and Ivan Rakitic. What makes the loss worse this time is Valverde gave these players plenty of rest leading up to the match. The team just looked ill-prepared and nervous with the thought of Roma seemingly on their mind. They played not to lose instead of playing their normal game. Just look at the misplaced passes and long ball after long ball instead of playing it from the back.

Losing the way Barcelona lost two seasons in a row is a result that is untenable for any manager. Especially one who only signed for two season and an option for a third. A manager who already frustrated fans because he was shifting away from the style that people were accustomed to from the Catalan side.I

n the end, it’s Valverde’s own cowardice and lack of initiative when the conditions required it that will be his undoing. If Barcelona want to finally win the Champions League again, they’ll need a better manager than Ernesto Valverde.

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