Xavi got angry. He got angry because Barça received a notice at the least expected moment, just now that he had set out, with four consecutive victories, on the right path. But the draw with Galatasaray not only frustrated the coach’s plans but also means a warning that the road to reconstruction will not be easy.
Barça had scored 14 goals in four games and was left dry against the Turkish team, despite the fact that Xavi used up to six strikers. Three in the starting eleven (adama, Fernando Torres and memphis) and three in the second part (Dembele, aubameyang and Luuk de Jong), but with the same result. They all stayed dry. And the Barça, too.
“Yes, of course this can serve as a wake-up call”
Xavi, Barça coach
“Yes, of course this can help. touch of attention But there is nothing lost”, recognized the Barça coach, trying to process the 90 minutes against Galatasaray that have caused a slowdown in the team’s good run.
The coach’s initial plan (he gave Piqué, Busquets and Auba rest) did not go well at all. Hence, he intervened urgently at halftime with a triple substitution that did not work either, entangling the team in a game that did not have the liveliness and electricity of other games.
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Xavi went to the sacred cows, but even so, Barça did not find the crack to knock down the granite Galatasary of Domènec Torrent held by the mighty hands of Inaki Pena, the goalkeeper that the Barça club gave him in this winter market. “He played a great game, he made our night bitter”, admitted Xavi, frustrated by the unexpected lack of forcefulness exhibited by his team.
Hence, the draw in the Europa League has served as an alarm for a Barça under construction, capable of advancing strongly with four consecutive victories. Alarm and complication for the roadmap that Xavi had designed because it modifies his entire strategy. To begin with, there will be no margin of rest in the template.
Istanbul and three days later the classic
He receives this Sunday at the Camp Nou against Osasunatravels to Istanbul to play for the future in the European second division on Thursday, without any cushion after the 0-0 first leg, and on Sunday he steps on the Bernabéu where Paris SG melted to face the classic. Everything that he had previously thought Xavi no longer serves him.
The management and distribution of effort is conditioned by that equalizer against Galatasaray, where neither the accumulation of forwards allowed Barça to score a single goal. It is the third match of the ‘Xavi era’ where he has not scored after the 0-0 win against Benfica at the Camp Nou, which condemned him to play, precisely, the Europa League, and the 0-1 win against Betis, also at the Barça stadium.
The coach used up to four nines against Galatasaray. It started with a off Ferran Torres, He then placed Memphis, then turned to Aubameyang and made the traditional emergency call with Luuk de Jong. But none was lucid in the final shot. Xavi defined it all with a single phrase: “We have been thick”.
That thickness got in the way of the optimistic path that Barça had drawn just after another draw, 1-1 with Napoli. This is how the coach perceived it, annoyed because his players, especially in the first half, did not understand the dimension of the game.
Xavi used up to four ‘nines’ to break Galatasaray: Ferran, Memphis, Aubameyang and Luuk de Jong. but without success
Nor did they know how to break Galatasaray, a team that is in the lower part of the Turkish League, with many limitations, whom Torrent cunningly ordered to close the paths to Barça, hovering over Araujo, the center-back who had to get the ball, and performing two-on-one situations over Adama, the winger who struck the most. “They were very good defensively, they were very supportive”, argued Xavi, praising Iñaki Peña over and over again.
But the problem did not lie only in the excellent attitude of the Turkish team, but also in the fact that the Catalans did not generate as many chances. “We haven’t attacked well and we haven’t generated as many chances as in other games”, the Barça coach complained, also assuming that “it is difficult to maintain the level of brilliance” that Barça had exhibited with the 1-4 win over Valencia , 2-4 against Naples, 4-0 against Athletic and 1-2 against Elche.
“Perhaps there has been too much euphoria and now there cannot be so much debacle”
Xavi, Barça coach
The team ran into a wall. He also ran into a lack of fluidity, the product, as Xavi denounced, of a problem of intensity. “Worried would not be the right word, but I am upset by the result. We played everything there, we can do it,” admitted the coach, considering that tie “unfair”, while claiming to maintain balance.
“I don’t see it as a step backwards but it can just happen. There is no nothing lost“, said Xavi, trying to get his team’s spirits up so that they don’t suffer from the slowdown. “It’s like a null fight. It is the same speech of the day of the Naples where we deserved to win and it was not obtained”.
“Perhaps there has been too much euphoria and now there can’t be so much debacle,” insisted the coach, acting as a counterweight to a team that can’t set a stable line in the game.
“If you lower the intensity a bit, and that’s our fault, everyone competes with you”, confessed Xavi. And that was paid dearly by Barça, immersed in “a process”, as the coach himself stressed, in which stability has not been achieved. “We have to learn from these circumstances. There is nothing lost, we are not eliminated. I can say little more.”