Vocational training, aka “Be a reporter”

These are worrying times for our football club, when the din is threatening to shut everything out.

The people who want Enrique gone are screaming the loudest right now, and people who might be considering a different view retreat in the face of vehemence. People who say the wrong things are being attacked, and it’s getting personal.

Meanwhile, rumors fly about practice rows. Messi and Enrique had a fight because Messi wanted a foul called. In a practice match. The player who doesn’t go down, who gets chunks kicked out of him with equanimity, decides to draw the line. With his coach. In practice. Neymar and Mascherano had a fight. That they are the kinds of rows that happen all the time in a competitive situation is immaterial. Right now, they are different. Why? Because they need to be?

Labels abound. “Cheerleader.” “Gloomy.” “Negative.” “Bandwagoner.” And everyone rushes to have the last word.

And that’s just among the fanbase!

The legendary Chicago news service, City News Bureau, had a saying: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” Its roots were in the diligence that a reporter should apply to his craft. Trust nothing, believe nothing, question everything, even from sources that you KNOW to be good ones. The only thing standing between a good story and a correction is a reporter’s sources.

Supporters are reporters now. The situation at Barça is, like at any time of crisis, bonkers. Lies, misinformation and agendas abound, with some bits of truth sifted in. Within that environment we supporters sit waiting for news, solid information about the situation. Not innuendo, not rumors, not scurrilous bits that suit whatever side of the fence we sit on, but news. As in facts. This happened. We know it happened because official sources said that it did.

All of the rest is, no matter where it comes from, nonsense. This is the fundamental skepticism that governs 99% of what I write here. Enrique is crap. I don’t know that because he hasn’t had enough time to prove it. There is an excellent piece at TotalBarça by Enrique Schloch that makes the most eloquent argument from a culer perspective. It’s worth your time. In it, the writer says that he doesn’t trust Enrique because Enrique hasn’t earned that trust. He doesn’t advocate that he be fired, or that he is terrible, unworthy of Barça etc, just that he doesn’t have his trust, and here’s why. It’s top stuff.

Now I am sure that writer has been accused by now of defending Enrique, because that’s the situation right now. It’s wholesale panic, which makes anything possible. “Don’t hit him with that car.” WHY ARE YOU DEFENDING ENRIQUE??!!

He’s leaving! Oh, no!

Messi is following Chelsea and Manchester City on Instagram. He’s going to leave Barça.”

Yikes. Is this really what we have come to? If you want to have some fun with the absurdity, try this bit from Dirty Tackle. It’s a giggle.

We know that Mourinho said that Chelsea couldn’t afford to buy Messi. But we don’t even know that, right? “Mourinho lies,” or “Managers always deny it right up until the player swaps clubs,” or “What else would he say?” Here again, the only fact is that Mourniho said — and we know this because it is an attributed, direct quote from the man himself — that Chelsea isn’t going to buy Messi. All the rest is panic. Panic creates a vacuum that nonsense is happy to fill. But if you want to choose what to believe, believe nothing.

Messi had a stomach bug. No, he was angry at Enrique. Messi posted on Facebook that he had a situation beyond his control, which was why he missed the open training and the annual visit to children in the hospital. But that’s nonsense too. What else would he say? He’s really behind an elaborate campaign to rid the club of Enrique and the board. Sighhhh … our hero!

And people support that instead of laughing at the idea of it all.

It isn’t even a question of being against Messi or for Enrique. It’s a simple question of common sense and what you choose to believe. Can we scoff at the idea of Messi being a “dictator” who does what he wants, opens cans of soda in a coach’s face and governs lineup decisions and then embrace the notion that he is a wee Machiavelli who uses social media to engineer change? And further that this player would scoff at the annual visit to sick children whose wee lives would be made by a visit from Messi, because he is in an Achilles-like sulk outside the gates of Troy?

Ask what the reaction would be if Ibrahimovic did something like that. Just apply that objective question to the identical situation, and what happens. “Hmph. He tried it with Guardiola, now he’s trying it with Blanc.” “Self-centered ass is stiffing kids because he’s mad at his coach. What an asshole.”

Rumors and nonsense, lies and agendas. Amid all of it, what do we know? Messi didn’t go to open training or the hospital visit. Beyond that, we have no idea what actually happened. Zero. So people believe what suits their needs, but how can we know, if we don’t know? Don’t believe what you want because it suits you. Believe it because it’s true.

Off with his head!

Another rumor is that in this board meeting on Wednesday some will ask for early elections, and that Enrique be given two matches to make things right. The source of this rumor? A person on Twitter. So what to do with this rumor? You can see part of it being true, so why not all of it, right? “Two matches?! That’s more than he deserves. Away with him now!”

The team is a mess. Why is it a mess. Rumor is that Messi says Enrique is too authoritarian. Another “source” says that Enrique doesn’t talk to the players. We’re doomed! In a wide-ranging interview, Xavi said that the players believe in Enrique, and the locker room is fine.

So now what? We have rumors, vs quotes from a player. Ah. “What else would Xavi say? He’s just toeing the party line.” Enrique out!

A brave man on Twitter, Rob Brown, said that Messi should do what his coach says, that no player is bigger than the team. He’s now in the witness protection program, by the by.

Reactions were that an unproven manager is, in effect, inferior to the Greatest Player Ever. Or, when talent is superior to leadership, all bets are off.

But again, it’s worth asking: Why have a coach? If a player can decide that a coach is being a big ol’ meanie and decide he’s had enough, why not just let the players run the team, right? Go for it. Now let’s apply the Ronaldo standard. Ronaldo doesn’t like what Ancelotti is doing, and thinks he’s too authoritarian.

My head hurts even from the fictional culer howls of derision. And yet, this rumor is being treated as truth, because why not? It’s what some want to believe, so it’s true.

So let’s assume for an instant that rumor is truth. Enrique has two matches, Elche and Atleti, both at home, to set his ship right. Let’s say Mascherano and Alves bang in own goals, then Elche grab another while Mathieu is off having a smoke. Barça salvage the draw, but oh, man. Then Atleti come in and manage a 1-0 win. So the club fires Enrique.

Who replaces him? Who do you want to replace him? Who would have better luck with the same players (winter 2016, don’t forget) and further, who would WANT to come into such a chaotic situation? Is there a coach good enough to run Barça, who is lounging about on a chaise lounge somewhere, waiting to be called?

No, it isn’t defending Enrique or anyone else unless you consider logic and tests of veracity to be entities. If you don’t know it, don’t believe it. Crisis loves intellectual laziness and a rush to judgment, even as our need to KNOW makes us clutch at something, anything. Patience is hard. During my days at another newspaper, I had to write a P1 column on the O.J. Simpson trial verdict. I waited. And waited. And fidgeted. And paced. I didn’t dare leave my office because what if it happened while I was gone?! Damn you, bladder, shut up!”

It wasn’t the knowing, but the not knowing. Rumors started to pop out, and my editor said to me, “Relax. Don’t start writing tops based on a rumor. It will come.” He was right. And no matter how much I wanted to know, I didn’t.

Until I did.

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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.

52 Comments

  1. agar2515
    January 6, 2015

    I encourage people who think all “anti-enrique” people are just ” haters” to read this:
    http://jenfcb.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/steering-a-ship-without-a-map-where-does-luis-enrique-want-barca-to-go/

    Fair and gives reasons why many are losing faith in him.

    As far as the twitter reports go..I believe there is definitely smoke here.

    If it wasn’t for all the other stuff happening right now Id be inclined to agree it is simply twitter rhetoric (who would be so dumb to say ” Me or Messi”?) .

    But why would anyone in any position seek to lie and get LE sacked undeservedly?

    There’s no prime candidate lying in wait, some masked man orchestrating this. IF he goes we are in a mess still.

    A campaign against Tata ok, but against Enrique? Why? What would be the point? I look at our play this year and think he’s just not up to it…

    • ooga aga
      January 6, 2015

      kxevin i want to say you made a great post, though most people here will comment without reading it, or if they do read it, they will just speak right past it. very rational and level headed.

      we dont know very much here on the outside, and people will believe those bits of rumor and info that fit their prior world view. confirmation bias.

  2. ian_percival
    January 6, 2015

    You can paint all these as ”rumour” but the truth still stands,we are at war,the world knows that,and the sharks are circling to take advantage of the situation,you can try to calm every nerves on this blog all you want, that the situation is exaggerated, but the situation is as bad as it looks. Enrique should be Sacked,the man is crap,he did the same thing at Roma,we all know he ended,he may be good for Mediocre teams but not for a top team,we should get rid of him before he drags messi out with him. EE went through this same situation some years back and other clubs too….so we will get outta this if we make the right decisions. We should get an experienced manager this time,someone little renowned in the game, Heynekes for example if he’s available

  3. lala10
    January 6, 2015

    Barca is playing like David Moyes’ United. One step forward and two backwards. Winning quitens but does not solve underlying issues. For too long we have played ponderously. You can count on one hand the number of times we have played really well. LE unfortunately for him feeds the ertono in more than one way.

    He knew it and i suppose its his duty to manage the best way he can. As for pleas for patience, well the world as it is today is full of so much noise and need for instant gratification. We are too quick to reach conclusions that fill gaps. Its unfortunate that some us here are on Twitter the mother of all screeching breathless noise broadcaster.

  4. Benj
    January 6, 2015

    So wait… you’ve played 17 games, 17 different lineups, but still got 12 wins, 2 draws and 3 losses and currently sit a maximum of 4 points off the leaders after they’ve had their game in hand and already there’s so much division? Calls (and not just one or two) for the manager to be sacked when you are 2nd in the league and still in europe? If he’s managed to get these results, all the while being able to use different lineups, I say good on Lucho! So many teams rely on a first XI or even a first XV to call upon, then when they are injured/suspended, they are stuffed, not to mention how it burns out the players.
    Someone said it before, but we live in the age of instant gratification. It’s something that I loathe about the online football community at large, as it just seems to scream FIFA/FM players who demand that we sign the top 5 players every season. Dont get me wrong, I love me a bit of FIFA, but people need to keep in mind that the mechanics of FIFA are not even in the same universe as those present in real life situations. Good luck to you culers, I hope it works out with Lucho.
    YNWA

    • FCB16
      January 6, 2015

      I would point to the article posted in the first comment as to why people are beginning to lose faith. It is not so simple as to just look at results. There is A LOT. I wouldn’t come on to a Liverpool blog and begin to dole out advice to LFC supporters, because I wouldn’t have even a modicum of insight and understanding into their club as they do. Same case here.

    • January 6, 2015

      And I wouldn’t tell respected commenters not to contribute to our threads just because they aren’t fans of our club. Please keep that in mind, FCB16.

      Benj, thanks for the “outsider’s” perspective.

    • agar2515
      January 6, 2015

      He was respectful, and he makes a point. I wouldn’t even begin to tell someone else about their own club, let alone one in such turmoil. I’m so tired of people just pointing to the results and calling everyone ” fickle” or ” fifa” players or what have you, it’s ridiculous.

    • FCB16
      January 6, 2015

      MOST people are pointing to real issues that have been prevalent all season. We are not just being FM online idiots thank you very much.

      His “outsider” perspective is nothing more than the same empty rhetoric I’ve been hearing all season ” look at the results” (a defense= getting harder and harder to spew) and this is because he has less of a grasp on FCB than a FCB fan would, JUST like I would regarding something LFC related.

      I never said he shouldn’t post here.

    • Jim
      January 6, 2015

      No, but you implied it by saying you wouldn’t go to one of theirs. This particular commentator, despite supporting another team has been very complimentary about ours and I for one like getting a perspective from the rest of the football world. No need to agree or even read it but likewise he doesn’t deserve the handoff. We should be better than that.

      Tbh, It seems to me both sides have a case at the moment. LE has handled things poorly and you’re right that those who pointed this out have been made to feel like they’re doing something wrong. However, there is also a strong argument for giving him until the end of the season, firstly as we can’t change horses again but also because he deserves it. Tata took a hell of a lot of stick here but got us closer to titles in the end than we would have thought. I think we need a more settled team as a starting point but I could in the end be proved wrong.

    • January 6, 2015

      1. Benji’s “Fifa players” comment was literally directed at the online community at large and not at anyone in particular on this site.

      2. As Jim mentioned the “I wouldn’t come on a Liverpool blog…” line is easily interpreted as a “You’re not welcome here” to a commenter who is appreciated by most if not all of us.

      3. Furthermore the reasoning that Benj doesn’t have a “modicum of insight and understanding into our club” is not only clearly false upon the evidence of Benj’s previous comments but also completely irrelevant when you take into account the “insight and understanding” of local culers and socis right here in BCN.

      Rosell and Bartomeu did not win a majority vote on Merseyside, after all…

    • ooga aga
      January 6, 2015

      I appreciate your level head post Benj. Good perspective… the views of other Barca fans notwithstanding.

    • Benj
      January 6, 2015

      Thanks Ooga Aga and the rest above, I’d like to say that I completely get where you are all coming from, and if a fan of another club tried to educate me on LFC, I’d raise an eyebrow, but that wasn’t my intention here and I apologise if it came across that way.
      I’d also like to assure you that I’ll continue giving my outsiders opinion as long as I’m welcome, because I enjoy this space, it isn’t filled with the ‘FIFA/FM fanboys’ previously alluded to. My comment was certainly not directed at the community here, which has proven in every article, and just about every comment, that it is being contributed to by intelligent individuals, who may have different paths they want their club to take, but all want to end up at the same goal, more or less. It was directed at those who comments on the likes of espnfc and various click-bait websites. Please note I actually like ESPNFC for their content, but their comments section is deplorable.
      FCB16 and Agar, I apologise if my post was out of line, I’ll try to keep it a bit more upbeat and general from now on. Jim, Levon and Oog, cheers for the support guys n gals, I love this space to death.
      YNWA and all the best for the Elche and Pathetico games.

    • agar2515
      January 6, 2015

      Apologies to you sir, I misconstrued your initial statement

    • Benj
      January 7, 2015

      None needed Agar, totally get where you are coming from. and can see how it could be misconstrued. YNWA, Peace

  5. January 6, 2015

    Am only hoping, LE will have a good look at his mirror and then discuss all this with his players. We should not look forwards to a change of coach at this part of the season. We are still on course for 3 cups, and even under chaos, we have the ability to reach at least up to the semis in CL.
    What am worried, is that as JenFCB says, it is not clear if even LE knows how exactly his team should play.

    • Jim
      January 6, 2015

      Agreed. This has gone far enough. We can talk about everything at the end of the season, including his future if things don’t at least improve on the field but now isn’t the time. I’d like to see the four captains at tomorrow’s presser in a show of unity with the coach. In return, and there is a return because there are various things he has handled wrongly, he sits down with them ( not Masche btw – this giving directions through him is disrespectful to the captains) and gets buy in for whatever he’s trying to do, treating them with the respect they deserve. He needs to do a SAF here and get the squad united against the world with that aggressive mentality that SAF and to some extent JM do. The macho approach has to go even as Id agree that he is the only one who decides who goes on or comes off.

      A word on Messi. I don’t believe for a minute he would pull out of the hospital visits without a reason ( his missus wouldn’t let him anyway). However, greatness doesn’t usually come without some baggage. With R10 he needed to feel wanted and struggled with fame, choosing to use it on the party scene. Messi, it seems to me, while he has every right to feel aggrieved if he wasn’t told an extra day would mean missing out on the game is a different case but probably also needs a different approach than has been the case so far. At its simplest try to let him know in advance that he’s only gonna play a half if things go well so he has time to get used to it.

    • January 6, 2015

      Jim, we all know that Messi always didnt start the first game with the other recent coaches, and that was never an issue. However, I dont remember, if those matches were so important ones – like our visit to a place where we always struggled.
      I think Messi and Neymar , stars and achievers as they are – would have wanted to take that opportunity to go out and get ahead of RM somehow, and hence all this discord. (team sheets are out one hour before right? by then they knew they had the opportunity to go atop!) I could be wrong, as we can only guess.

    • January 6, 2015

      or, in a worst case – if I can assume in a bad way – he was already unhappy with LE (as many seem to claim all over the web, about tactics, lack of clear picture etc etc), and took this as a good opportunity to go all out.

      Whatever, as someone wrote in another space – LE seems to repeat the word ‘I am the boss’ often – which is unnecessary for a good boss.

    • Jim
      January 6, 2015

      Agreed. I feel he makes a rod for his own back though in these circumstances by not telling the players until a couple of hours before a match. Take Messi and Neymar aside at training and tell them your intention is to keep it tight first half and bring them on second as you’re worried about the long flight. Not sure what you tell Pique that he’s dropped after playing well but that’s another matter. He seems to have a problem with Pique. Interesting report on Barcastuff about squad disquiet with the way Pique has been treated from the start. Can only agree. However, he will have taken some grim satisfaction from the position the goal came from which was exactly where he would have been at the front of the six yard zonal.

  6. Jim
    January 6, 2015

    Interesting video of Neymar telling Messi to warm up after about 2 minutes and their goal! The body language speaks volumes. Personally, I’m with Neymar on that……

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TftxQC89G14

  7. Zubs
    January 6, 2015

    Good news about the Zubi sacking is that we may also finally see the back of Eusebio 😀

    • hansh
      January 6, 2015

      This is my greatest hope for this entire mess. Eusebio out!

  8. January 6, 2015

    Nobody seem to be getting the big picture here. The players are great listeners and learners, they follow their manager whole heartedly.

    In the footballing world, big teams are like the army, a football match is barely just that, that is why statistics are a great reminder of who is dominating and who isn’t.
    Football is like piecing together that unrivalled genius in unlocking your opponents.

    No one commends a failed tact and a manager that gives a battle speech to huge cheers and tear-filled believes leads his army to war with consequences, if after that genius speech your team was battered, you get back and pick yourselves up, then another battle ensues, you give another great speech and plot another great base of attack and defence you get pummeled again, yet again you deliver another pick-yourselves-up speech, and go at your enemies with your hyper-charged cavalry piecing your tact on cameos from your air strikes and yet again get battered.
    As a general in the military, even in a world where mutiny is punishable by death, you face one.

    Fast forward from that analogy, asking for patience to get battered, brutalized and brain-beat again during the excruciating spell of a whole football season is pure evil.
    Lionel messi I’m sure is not up for it.

    Do you realize even bending your formation in order to adjust to an opponent’s is a sign of defeat? Especially with the kind of players we wield.
    Enrique undermines our team, he seem to think it is betis.

  9. Adethings
    January 6, 2015

    I prefer a coach who would rather resign than change his philosophies because of ANY Player. Atleast, if he fails, it will be on his own terms. For all the criticism of LE, we still haven’t lost a game wherein we were 2goals up (madrid vs REAL SOCIEDAD) nor conceded 5 against spurs (mourinho’s chelsea) nor an embarrasing early exit in league cup (LVG Man Utd).

  10. Rami
    January 6, 2015

    Four coaches………In four seasons………And barca fans are still utterly confused and perplexed about why things aren’t going very well for them.
    You know what a good solution will be, Let’s make it FIVE!, Because i don’t know, Maybe if we keep throwing shit at the wall one of them has to eventually stick.

    So no, Thanks, The last thing the team needs right now, Is more panic and sinking it’s legs deeper in the mud, No more replacing coaches, What an utter waste will that will be, Again.

    Whatever the problems between enrique and messi are, They should sort it out like grown-up men, No one should jeopardize the health of the entire team just for their own personal feuds, And that holds specifically for messi.

  11. kosby
    January 6, 2015

    Good post Kxevin. Its very hairy right now with regards to media. Incidents are being blown out of proportions, noone exactly knows the facts and its all very confusing. I’d just wait it out. Its unbelievable how dispensable football has become. A manager who’s been on the job for a few months is being asked to be sacked. Isn’t it a little too soon to judge someone ?

    “Who replaces him? Who do you want to replace him? Who would have better luck with the same players (winter 2016, don’t forget) and further, who would WANT to come into such a chaotic situation? Is there a coach good enough to run Barça, who is lounging about on a chaise lounge somewhere, waiting to be called?”

    Very valid questions. I’d like someone who wants LE to be sacked to answer them. Rationally. With a cool head.

    Maybe LE has been crap, but shouldn’t we be reserving judgement till the end of the season ? I personally find the argument about different lineups in all the games a little ridiculous. We change our personnel based on the challenge in front of us, based on the minutes that players have had, based on the skill set of the opposition, based on the injuries we;ve had, based on the form the players are in, based on the upcoming matches that we have. Just because its not usually done, doesn’t mean its a bad idea. I’d say judge the strategy based on the results. Usually at the end of the season.

  12. Jim
    January 6, 2015

    But that’s never the way football works. Managers and players have their efforts gone over in minute detail every week. Nobody waits till the end of the season to comment, do they?

    Likewise, any successful team you can name its best eleven. That doesn’t come from needless rotation . Nobody’s against rotation but to leave 4/5 of your “best” eleven out in the same match when they’re all fit and rested against a side you always have problems against away from home and with a chance to undo the damage some of your earlier decisions have led to strikes me as just being contrary.

    You would always find someone decent willing to take on Barcelona but that’s not the point. I agree with you that with everything else going on we need to support LE where possible until the end of the season and look at it then. We badly need another game coming up. Wonder how much rotation there’ll be ? 🙂

  13. January 6, 2015

    @MichaelRobinson: “Not easy to recognize, but Leo Messi is a thousand times more relevant to Barça than his coach. Like it or not.”

  14. we are dooomed
    January 6, 2015

    I’m not a fan of Enrique and don’t think he’s a great coach, I also want the current board out but people fumingly wanting Enrique sacked immediately even though there is no proven manager available in the mids of the season while La Liga managers also can’t change clubs within the same season (which makes Paco Jemez for example impossible), that is just hilarious. Twitter wariors throwing around names like Oscar Garcia whose biggest achievement was coaching Juvenil A because he is a “Cruyffist”? All that while Madrid is at best 4 points ahead? My Lord, if this is how the fanbase is going to be in the future because Barca doesn’t dominate as they did in the Guardiola years it’s time to abandon the Internet. That was once in a lifetime, people should accept that. Madrid’s team is much better right now. They also get penalties en masse. They naturally lead the table and will be doing so even if Pep came back tomorrow.

  15. we are dooomed
    January 6, 2015

    Oh, and if it’s true that Messi is causing a stir and indirectly threatening to leave the club if the coach isn’t sacked just because he couldn’t take a decision in a 5-a-side game and had to sit on the bench for 45 minutes with only 2 days training he can go and f*** himself.

  16. ooga aga
    January 6, 2015

    want to say i appreciate the level headed commenters here, e.g. kxevin, jim, kosby, and we are doomed. note not all these folks are “pro-enrique”. most have criticisms of him.

    just thinking fondly of the crises weve had this season. there was the celta vigo crisis, the getafe crisis, the PSG and RM crises, and now the anoeta crisis. maybe there were a couple others along the way. besides that, ive seem some pretty good football, played by a team that is obviously in transition and figuring out its new identity. it has a new number 9 that still has played very, very little. as well as some ‘older’ players that are still finding form. beyond that LE has done some things good, somethings questionable but beyond that all you can say is there are many things we dont know. i can assure you the man is not perfect. beyond that we — that means all of us on this blog — know very little about whats going on behind the scenes.

  17. deerwithwings
    January 6, 2015

    I think Rami has it straight. Tito might have been the coach, but was the unfortunate victim of cancer. Or, Tata, who is or course coaching a super star and world cup 2018 favorite team, might be destroying. Now we have LE, who should be given a full years chance at the helm. I’m not saying we cannot criticize the man, but was that loss really about not starting Messi and Neymar, or the inability for our boys to find the net? The formation, which I don’t personally like, lead to chances, but NO ONE took them.

    For me, the game was epitomized in the Pedro pass to nowhere. Alba didn’t make the run he should have, and a good series of passes lead to a goal kick. Teams don’t work over night. Part of the problem is that the 2009-12 narrative is over, and we wasted last year trying to win silver when we should have had an overhaul, i.e., the board is at complete fault. Now, we have to rebuild this year. I am with Kxevin on the idea that I support the team and not the players. That includes the coach. It is strategically a poor move to change a coach every year. We need to at least give Enrique two, that means the players as well. If, after next year, we still continue to move down the curve as opposed to up, well, then it is time to change.

    I do wish Enrique would admit some of the mistakes he is making. I wish he would rotate positions that haven’t been rotated. I would like him to play rafihna, rakitic, and masch in midfield and play bartra, pique, mathieu, and alba. However, firing him is not going to solve the systemic problems. There needs to be a general election, and the fans need to relax and take some pressure of the players. That means not feeding the media.

    • ooga aga
      January 6, 2015

      good to know that links Balague’s tweets can be found here in this forum. thanks. but it doesnt really make us any more knowledgeable about what is going on. I trust that man about as far as i can throw him, and he is one big potato. what the players buy or dont buy…we know very little about that. but if you think you have some evidence that confirms your bias, thats fine.

    • agar2515
      January 6, 2015

      Maybe not GB but Hunter I trust. He isn’t one to gossip. And bias? Says the guy cherry picking and ” congratulating” commenters he feels agree with his POV. Right back at you. Keep putting your head in the sand.

    • January 7, 2015

      Guys, can we please refrain from sarcasm (Ooga) and personal attacks (Agar) in this space?

    • Jim
      January 6, 2015

      I hope not, even as I can see a certain logic in moving now from Barto’s point of view, if he has an alternative, but who ? . I’d be very surprised if something like this would leak in such a way and Id be disappointed if Barto hadn’t insisted on a clear the air meeting first. If no joy at that, then he would have a decision to make and in the history of football any manager losing the dressing room doesn’t have long.

      I’d be amazed if that were the case though. Barcelona’s first team aren’t noted for their egos to say the least so you must be doing something wrong if they have been stirred up. Most likely for me is that there has been a growing frustration at the rotation which boiled up in a small incident on the playing ground after which LE should have sorted it out immediately with Messi, maybe reminding him that he’s now a captain of the side and he expects his support. It’s difficult for me because right from the start when he picked on Pique I said his macho approach could cause him issues with such a set of world class players. I’m not sure he can, or would want to, change.

      Presser becomes even more unmissable. Does anyone know where I can get it live ? I’ll need to spend the night swatting up on my Spanish then worry about shifting it from Catalan. I just hope we hear from the players too. Barto has a lot of work to do tomorrow.

  18. HisR0yalFlyness
    January 6, 2015

    Its all speculation, but the rumors about a rift between Messi and LE are growing by the minute.

    http://www. sport-english.com/en/news/barca/xavi-iniesta-and-busquets-meet-with-messi-try-and-calm-situation-3831012

    http://www. insidespanishfootball.com/143218/barcelona-captains-to-stage-crisis-meeting-with-leo-messi/

    Where there’s smoke there’s fire.

    Wish all this crap could be put to rest and we could all get back to the football.

  19. kosby
    January 7, 2015

    Hey agar2515, I just want to make an effort to try and understand your point of view. Are you of the opinion that LE is failing at his job and needs to be replaced now ? Because anyone can see that he is not one of the top coaches in the world at the moment. But he isn’t completely foolish either. What would be an appropriate grading scale for a manager ? Is it league standings, number of trophies ? Wouldn’t waiting for a season before calling someone a failure be prudent ? Of course we should definitely criticize his bad decisions the same way we should laud his good ones. But to call someone a failure at his job within the first few months seems a bit hasty to me personally.

    Klopp was the toast of the town until this season, wasn’t he ? Right now they’re languishing somewhere in the relegation zone. Also he joined Dortmund as a coach in 2008 and won the league only in 2011. Of course he did not have as many resources as Barca does but then having resources is no guarantee for trophies is it ? Look at EE for example. Luckily they weren’t hasty in declaring Klopp a failure in his first season itself.

    Also I don’t know if LE has a “system” or not. The fact that we cannot seem to identify a system, doesn’t mean he doesnt have one. Or maybe the system is that there is no system. I wouldn’t know. He is probably the only one that does. Although I do recall him talking about creating chaos at the beginning of the season. Since the opposition teams have become so used to the “system” we have had for the last few years.

    My opinion is that yes, he hasn’t had the best of results in the last few games, but now is probably not the time to get rid of him. I would like to understand your point of view as well.

    • January 7, 2015

      I like a lot of what LE is trying to achieve (rotation, unpredictability) but if the players don’t believe in his project, that’s an issue.

    • agar2515
      January 7, 2015

      I am not legit calling for LE’s head ( unless he was indeed foolish enough to try and start a ” me or him” with messi), it is more that all the reported issues about players issues with
      Him+ having not seen a shred of direction or improvement ( I don’t just look at Wins and loses) has gotten me to a point where I wouldn’t mind if he left. Where some see a tactical nous in rotation and “figuring it out” I see a man in over his head up until this point.

      No one answered my earlier question either, what is the reasoning for people to make up anti-enrique stories? If he goes we are getting an interim coach, or a coach to ride is out until elections can take place and the new president appoints ” his guy”.

      Bottom line: if Enrique stays I won’t expect much at all, he hasn’t earned a thing in my eyes bar ONE game against PSG, if he goes I’ll be happy to grit my teeth knowing a brighter dawn is ahead.

    • agar2515
      January 7, 2015

      And no I don’t want Pep to come back, sometimes it takes time to find the right man for such a huge position. Id rather go through troubles now than stick with one guy ” just because”. Honestly people have been found wanting (imo) in their defense of LE, with the same talking points ” patience” “look at the record”.
      I posted two articles in here as to why I and many feel the way we do, there are plenty more out there. My question is why KEEP LE? Besides some sort of idealism that ” changing coaches is bad”.

      As to Klopp, Id take him in a heartbeat. When not ravaged by injury and losing key players they were a sheer force. It’s a different situation.

      PS I will admit to, as Jen stated in that article, being very irked and annoyed with how Rakatić is being used. This is NOT the Sevilla Rakatić that awed the world last year.

  20. BA
    January 7, 2015

    just read, but haven’t been able to find confirmation, that Henrique, Keirrison, and Douglas were/all owned by Traffic. if this is true, their transfers make a hell of alot more sense as a symptom of quid pro quo corruption than incompetent direction of the sporting project.

    can anyone shine more light on this matter?

  21. January 7, 2015

    Well thank god for honest-to-God real-life issues to keep me occupied and off the boards/twitter, is all I have to say.

    It really did escalate quickly, didn’t it?

    From absolute sense of hope after the final whistle of the Valencia – Real match to the end of the Real Sociedad – Barcelona game there were what, three hours tops?

  22. Tata2
    January 7, 2015

    Never in recent times in barca history has a coach been criticized this much at this point. For people like me, I was NEVER in support of his appointment and never had faith in him. Unfortunately for him he had only managed to build a two pence worth of confidence in me then just about lost everything with the Anoeta game. I was so hurt that I had to take a day break from the football side of the internet. I imagine what other cules will be going through also. If we criticize LE then its not because we hate him or we are negative people who choose to see gloom out of everything, but its cos we love this club and we are tired of this torture. I imagine the amount of torture we would have to endure more each week till the season is over. The results can be deceiving, yes, we won games and kept clean sheets at the beginning but I was never convinced until EE had our asses handed to us. Firing LE may be or may not be the correct decision but those advocating for patience, you don’t have any fact to convince us that LE who was an average manager at Roma and Celta will suddenly become a world beater at Barcelona if given time, if Roma didn’t give him time then why should we? if this torture goes on till the end of the season, what will y’all say to us to soothe our hearts. PSG takes their chances and we finish second in the group and are as good as out against Chelsea’s bus in the UCL, Villa real, Malaga, Valencia convert their chances and we are as good as more than 10points behind. Yes EE gets lots of pks and most of the time they work for it. I was of the opinion that individual brilliance wasn’t a bad thing but if it has become the system then am afraid. We are not criticizing LE cos he isn’t getting results but its cos we are not sure and he hasn’t convinced us that he knows/knew what he is/was doing both at Roma, Celta and now here and that makes his results look like a series of flukes. He should continue but let me go get an anaesthasia for the torture coming up in the remaining 4/5 months

  23. Jim
    January 7, 2015

    Up early coz it’s gonna be a doozie of a day !

    First some good signs. Acc to the Spanish papers Barto attempting to knock heads together and the club captains off their own bat have decided that they need to step up to the plate and try to sort this. Also, no dodging of pressers which must have been a temptation. Key for me is Xavi and possibly the quiet Iniesta. Both are hugely respected in the dressing room as far as I can see and may be the only ones with any sway over Leo. Their attitude will count, probably more than Barto at this stage, and so far I don’t think Xavi has put a foot wrong and I don’t expect him to now.

    The alternative coaches…. Can we not lose sight of the fact that moving to Barcelona isn’t like moving to any other club? Coach moves to RM he has quick forwards and usually no buses to face. That’s relatively easy. Move to Barca? You’ll never have faced anything like this in your life where opponents ( every opponent almost) have agreed that the only way to beat you is to park the aforementioned.

    LE has rightly been harping on to the players about quicker transitions but the bottom line is that the number of times we collect the ball in our own half and look up for spaces and see acres to play a quick ball into are very few. I’m gonna also say that it has to be a long ball through the air is useless as our midgets – even Suarez- aren’t great at leaping pulling the ball in and laying it off. Long ground balls are v difficult. Even if we manage it our forwards aren’t quick in the sense of CR7 or Bale in terms of stretching out and using raw speed. I thought originally Neymar was but he’s not. Watched an R10 tribute programme last night. What a raw speed with the ball he had in his prime – but I digress. So most of our attacks are going to be against packed defences anyway.

    That to me is why Rakitic and Rafinha have struggled so far. They haven’t, although you can see both are great players in the ordinary sense, imo, got the necessary technical skills to move the ball around the edge of the opponents’ area without losing it. They can’t turn on a sixpence while keeping their head up. That makes it difficult for them. So LE who will never have had to deal with this in its purest form is playing catch up. I’m sure he was relying on them to come in, beef up the physicality of the midfield, speed everything up and provide the answer but he may have asked the wrong question at the start. They are both his men. He could have had any midfielder he wanted in the summer and chose them so he’s gonna play them if possible which is why he told Xavi not to expect a game but he’s ended up with the “old” midfield for a reason and we’ve seen it as the season developed. He may eventually come up with the answers but if he can’t get the interpersonal skills right he’s not going to get the chance. Those calling for R and R in midfield, I asked before and nobody took me up on it. When they pick up the ball at halfway how is what they do going to be different? Are they going to launch a long quick ball agains a nine man bigger defence? Yes, we can do the long diagonal but how often has that worked? People forget how long a long diagonal ball is in the air and how long a defence has to readjust. Are they going to run past eight or nine with their dribbling skills or are we back to Rakitic has a great shot. He does but most of our shots these days hit legs unavoidably. It’s not that easy.

    Personally, I don’t think there was a lot wrong with our displays in the first half of the season that wouldn’t have largely disappeared as Suarez gets used to our ability to hold the ball round the box. The ball he received from Xavi was hugely encouraging for me. He knew it would have to be perfect to even make that run on the edge of offside yet had faith in Xavi delivering it perfectly. I like Xavi closer to the box but wonder who will link the play and with a contented team playing well I’d still take us against anyone. Without wishing to sound like the broken record, we need a tight defence ( and have one, just not the one LE plays! ). That gives our forwards the chance to build throughout a game without having the burden of chasing the score.

    It’s not as bad as it maybe seems on the pitch for me. My worry is how LE will react to all this and the field day the press and Internet are going to have continuing to de-stabilise the team with exaggeration and making up of stories.

    That’s why the players need to stick together and decide if they can follow LE. Yes, we can think what we like but in the end it’s up to the players if they speak with one voice. The days of SAF lording it over the dressing room are gone as indeed the role of management has changed all over society. JM found that out at RM. Today’s manager needs authority through respect not through the quality of their hairdryer ! Roll on the pressers.

  24. January 7, 2015

    Here’s what I have to say on what’s happened on the pitch and around it:

    Real Sociedad have turned Anoeta into a sacrificial ground for big teams.
    Real went without Ronaldo, scored 2 goals in the opening 10 minutes… and then Txuri Urdin apparently remembered they are playing at Anoeta, and scored four. By the end of the match the stadium was a volcano.

    Atletico Madrid went, scored inside 15 minutes, and were then overrun by Vela and Co. Simeone hopelessly watched as the hardest team in La Liga(all due respect to Eibar) was being outfought, outrun and outplayed and gradually pushed back against its goal-line.

    Since the Guardiola era began, Barcelona had played Real Sociedad from 2010-11 on, because Real Sociedad was fighting in Segunda in 2008-09 and 2009-10. In those four seasons Barcelona managed one single draw in 2011-12 season, and three losses.

    And on Sunday, without Messi for the first half, without Neymar and Alves for more than an hour, Real Sociedad won due to an own goal. Real Sociedad, who scored six goals against Atletico and Real, had one single shot on goal. Yes, the players looked a bit disinterested, disunited, taking too long to control the ball or releasing inaccurate passes.
    But don’t forget also that there were not one, but two clear penalties not called, any of which, if scored, would practically turn the tide.

    On Sunday after the Valencia game, MARCA for the first time showed disquiet.
    As of right now, Real Madrid have played the same number of games(friendly in Dubai),with a game vs Sevilla on 4th of February, have rested up to 5 days less than Barcelona’s squad, which has also rotated more.
    And Barcelona have to play Elche and then Atletico at home, then Elche away. Real will have to play Atletico two times and Espanyol, and then if Barcelona and Real win, it will be two Clasicos in midweek.

    If you hadn’t gathered it yet, I’m the consummate optimist. 🙂

    • stefan2k
      January 7, 2015

      Thanks Peter for being the voice of sanity in here! Should be reposted in the new article!

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