How Luis Enrique Saved Barcelona

“Thank you, boss”.

This is what went through my mind as I went through my twitter timeline on the night of the Champions League elimination. Suddenly, everything that frustrated me about what I truly believed was hurting the club was gone. There were no overreactions and if there were any they were at a minimum.

There is no coach in the world whose words sound so accurate and rational as Luis Enrique. At full time, Luis Enrique was asked about the match and his words made more sense than ever: “My players are professionals, they know they can’t win everything all the time”. Interestingly enough, the players and the entire fanbase repeated his words with pride. After the dream that was Pep Guardiola, came the beautiful reality that is Luis Enrique.

This is what Luis Enrique is all about: practicality.

Following the Barcelona fanbase closely, I assure you you can trust my words. Everyone has changed. From demanding the most ridiculous outcomes and coming up with the most illogical excuses to being very rational and supportive.

A lot of things are said about Luis Enrique. However, nothing grabs my attention more than two phrases: “reliance on individual brilliance/MSN” and “tactical failure“.

Let’s start with the first. The idea of individual brilliance has always been amusing let alone when it’s mentioned by Barcelona fans who happen to support a group of individuals with more game changing talent than most players in the world. The idea of “relying on individual brilliance” is old, ridiculously inaccurate, and pretty overused. I wrote something about it more than a year ago that hopefully puts an end to it. Here

Breaking down what individual brilliance means to this specific squad you would realize that it makes sense less than ever.

Luis Suarez, Neymar and Messi are three exceptionally talented players. They are not just any talented players. For the past year or so, they have been considered the three top players in the world. In a team of 10 outfield players, you have 3 players(which happen to form 30% of the team) who play together in attack. If you don’t watch Barcelona, you would say that MSN truly occupy 30% of the importance while in reality they occupy much more considering how talented and influential they are. After all, the ‘M’ is MSN represents possibly the most influential player of all time. Are we really going to give Messi 10% of the entire deal? Definitely not. Together, Messi Suarez and Neymar form around 50% of the team’s importance whether in talent, influence, attack or defense. They would form this exact percentage or possibly even more in any other team in the world and under any other coach in the world.

Where am I going with all of these numbers? Let me explain.

Take a moment to imagine yourself as the coach of FC Barcelona. Now, skip to training and imagine yourself watching Messi Suarez and Neymar every few days in training. They are going around making fools out of our defenders and scoring the most beautiful goals while making it look so easy. They are defending, passing, attacking and doing everything there is to do. Once again, skip to the part where you set out your general plan for the next match. Will you give these three guys the importance they deserve or not? Will you set them free and allow them to do almost whatever they want because it seems like the most practical thing to do. MSN are the main power of Luis Enrique and he has used his power in the most practical and the most efficient way.

So, the questions here truly are: Why do people ignore the possibility that relying on MSN is part of Luis Enrique’s plan and preference rather than this reliance being an outcome of his clueless tactical self? Why is Pep’s reliance on Xavi, Iniesta and even Leo appear as an act of genius while Lucho’s reliance on MSN appears just because Lucho has no idea what he’s doing? To try to make this as relevant to Barcelona as possible, why did Frank Rijkaard give Ronaldinho all this freedom and relied on him more than anyone in the team?

There is always a practical solution and certain players to rely on. It is up to the coach to recognize this solution and then optimize it. This thought is applicable in almost all the teams in the world. However, for some reason, only Luis Enrique gets attacked for an attacking formation that he himself helped set up.

“Luis Enrique is a tactical failure” gets passed around pretty often as well. Putting aside every decision that Luis Enrique took to enhance the team tactically over the past year(which happen to be a lot by the way but I’ll leave that to the more knowledgeable tacticians), I want to focus on the most significant part of Luis Enrique’s work at Barcelona: second halves.

Nothing is more interesting than how this Barcelona side changes from the first half to the second. It is almost as if two different teams play for Barcelona in the same match. Is it possible that all our players become more “individually brilliant” in every second half of almost every match? Shouldn’t it be easy to recognize how tactically flexible Luis Enrique can be over the course of 90 minutes? Isn’t his influence during the half-time break pretty visible and usually leads to incredible outcomes? Or is it just one big coincidence because “nah, he has no idea what he’s doing”?

Gladly, I don’t feel the urge to defend Luis Enrique (even if I just did) as much as I did in the beginning of 2015. Most fans have recognized his influence and how quickly he put us back on top of the world. As for the remaining minority, they can never really recognize it because they will forever be prisoners of a certain past.

Luis Enrique arrived to a heartbroken club. He arrived with new opportunities that could have failed if he didn’t handle them properly. He arrived to a team that has no experienced goalkeeper to depend on. He had two new goalkeepers who needed to adapt and they did pretty well. He arrived to an inconsistent Gerard Pique and what seemed to be a finished Dani Alves. He arrived to a team dependent on Xavi Hernandez and feeling lost without him. He arrived along with Ivan Rakitic who he himself needed to adapt to such a delicate style of play. He arrived to the club only to see that people are starting to doubt Andres Iniesta. He arrived to the club seeing a heartbroken Lionel Messi who seemed like he didn’t have any freedom or air to breathe for the past year. He arrived to an insignificant Sergi Roberto and eventually turned him into one of the most useful players on the squad. I could go on and on but I am sure all these points were pretty clear before you even started reading.

Luis Enrique saved a fanbase from the delusions of the past while giving them a treble to celebrate and a team to adore. He did all of this while continuously asking people to keep their feet on the ground and stay rational.

Luis Enrique is all about rationality and practicality. He arrived to face a fanbase that had become irrational and impractical. He brought this fanbase back to reality yet still managed to give them a lot of things to celebrate and opportunities to win more.

When Frank Rijkaard arrived he signaled a new beginning. He gave youth(most importantly Xavi, Iniesta, and Leo Messi) a chance, made perfect use of his players, and went on to win several trophies. When Pep arrived he signaled endless possibilities and excitement. For a couple of years, Barcelona fans were enjoying heaven. Pep Guardiola was football at its peak.

Luis Enrique will prove to be an important phase in the club’s history. It will be known as the phase where reality hit FC Barcelona and everyone was actually pretty fine with it.

 

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68 Comments

  1. ooga aga
    April 16, 2016

    “A día de hoy no hay ningún equipo que haya sido mejor que nosotros. No me cambio con ningún equipo de la Liga española.”

    “As of today there is no team that has been better than us. I wouldn’t change my team for any other in the league.”

    100% with you jefe. In futbol there are days when you are the better team and you still don’t get the result you want.

    Still tons to play for, hopefully the camp nou cheers the lads to victory tomorrow.

  2. Hristo
    April 16, 2016

    Individual Brilliance – the ability to utilize internal resources to resolve external blocks, using the right stuff and the right time producing the appropriate results.

    For Barca Chief

  3. luisthebeast
    April 16, 2016

    Reality is the word.If the club can win a CL every 3-4 years it s better than 2 in a row and then after 20 years.I wanted the treble but sometimes i asked myself:And next season?What?What would be the motivation?I guess the only reason Barca fans are so mad is the possibility that madrid will win it.But i believe Bayern will,so i am ok.Our 24th liga and 28th CDR is now our targets and it will be a great achievement.The club waited 37 years for the first CL.I can wait until 2017 for the 6th.Whats important is to do smart things.Not anymore useless overage players.Young and hungry.

  4. luisthebeast
    April 16, 2016

    The most painful memory for me was the final of 94.I was in the stadium in Athens,i was 18,and i was so sad after.I hate when we lose a final.But then came the 97 final,2006,2009,2011,2015 all wins.And all the ligas and cups.I am part of the more succesful generation of cules.I cant complain.

  5. ciaran
    April 17, 2016

    Seasons can change on the smallest detail, Jamie Vardy just went over under pressure from a defender in the Leicester v West Ham match in the box. The referee ruled it a dive and gave Vardy his second yellow. If Leicester end up losing and Spurs win it could turn the title race in England on its head, if they hold on to their 1-0 lead then they’ll surely win the league.

    • Jim
      April 17, 2016

      Just been watching it, Ciaran. Exciting stuff, as was Rangers Celtic earlier. A series of brave decisions by the ref, right or wrong. FWIW, I thought he got them all right apart from West Ham’s penalty which smacked of evening up. Mind you, not sure why the wrestling hold on Huth minutes earlier wasn’t given either. Still, I’ll always applaud refs for tackling the rubbish that now goes on at corners. It has become worse and worse because decisions are never given.

  6. Jim
    April 17, 2016

    Sorry, meant Leicester’s penalty which looked shoulder to shoulder.

  7. Jim
    April 17, 2016

    On an unrelated topic it’s a shame Samper will miss the rest of the season. To my mind he should have been part of the squad this year but will definitely be next ( or we’ll lose him) . There would have hopefully been some chances to have a look at him in the final game or so. Does anyone know if there’s a difference between a broken ankle and a broken bone in an ankle because a broken ankle was always considered a potentially career limiting injury way back in my day ?

    • Davour
      April 17, 2016

      Not a doctor, but it was said he’ll be out for 6-8 weeks or so. Probably less serious than a broken ankle; would think it’s a minor bone, not the supporting structure,

    • Jim
      April 17, 2016

      Thanks. Inspired me to look it up. Sounds like it’s just the one bone.

      “A fractured ankle can range from a simple break in one bone, which may not stop you from walking, to several fractures, which forces your ankle out of place and may require that you not put weight on it for a few months.

      Simply put, the more bones that are broken, the more unstable the ankle becomes. There may be ligaments damaged as well. The ligaments of the ankle hold the ankle bones and joint in position.”

      Doesn’t sound too bad.

    • Davour
      April 17, 2016

      The irony… after writing that comment, I went to play floor ball and injured my ankle, a sprain, it seems; don’t think any bones are broken… Well, in a good position to watch the game, stuck on the couch, my painkillers and I!

      I note that it’s the gala minus Alves, plus Sergi (not sure that makes us weaker, though). Emphasises the importance of this game.

  8. TITO
    April 17, 2016

    How the fuck we can miss so much?!
    This is becoming unbelieveable.

  9. ciaran
    April 17, 2016

    This is the same team that we beat 7-0 earlier this season and now 2-0 down at half time. WTF?

  10. Tata2
    April 17, 2016

    Am not watching but is Messi still playing deep in midfield?

    • ciaran
      April 17, 2016

      Not really, floating in from the wings quite a bit but starting out wide.
      We’ve missed some great chances with all three forwards guilty of missing clear opportunities.
      First goal unlucky but on first look Bravo should have done better.
      Second goal, an enormous hole in front of the defense with no one closing down Parejo, Pique and Sergi Roberto both delay and Masch plays Mina onside who shoots and even though Bravo gets two hands on the shot can’t push it wide. I think the entire team are at fault for that second goal.

      Still, it’s our finishing not our defending more culpable for the scoreline

  11. G6O
    April 17, 2016

    Well, a couple months ago, when we were winning despite it, we were talking about how missing so many chances might catch up with us in the most inopportune moment. Today seems to be that moment.

    We should have been 2-3 up, then we score an own goal, then keep missing, and then let in another…..

    I don’t know what is happening — the Classico we lost because we collapse in the last half an hour, at Anoeta and Atletico we were not able to create chances, today we’ve had no problem creating chances and it’s the worst scoreline so far.

  12. Ryan
    April 17, 2016

    That 2nd Valencia goal looked like it could have been pulled straight from the Barcelona playbook. We’re going to need a huge 2nd half to get back into this match.

  13. PPos
    April 17, 2016

    My father always said:
    Goals that you don’t score are scored on you.
    Rings true every time.

  14. TITO
    April 17, 2016

    Not this time, his hanging on the wing. Its not that we are playing bad, we had a dozen of great chances, just that this time the ball wont go in.
    And of course, we got punished for the misses.

  15. ian_percival
    April 17, 2016

    What kind of stupid morons do we have as defenders. Luis Enrique, shame on you!

  16. TITO
    April 17, 2016

    Ita not about defense. Is our forwards did they job we would be 3,4 goals ahead.

  17. ian_percival
    April 17, 2016

    What the fuck! We are spraying the ball from one wing to the other time and time again, Jordi Alba is such a useless one-trick-pony player

  18. ian_percival
    April 17, 2016

    Must jordi Alba always cross, he doesn’t know how to do anything else, stupid idea

  19. TITO
    April 17, 2016

    Is this epic enough?

  20. Ryan
    April 17, 2016

    Not sure how much time wasting has to happen to get more than 3 minutes of added time.

    • Davour
      April 17, 2016

      Yes, this is becoming ridiculous. Teams have really made use if that, lately.

  21. April 17, 2016

    Unbelivable!!! What has Rakitic done to deserve his starting place? He offers no control in midfield and leaves a huge hole in midfield everytime. Also if Luis Enrique don’t have the guts to sub Saurez or Neymar, he will wreck the team forever. Neymar has been crap for sometime…

  22. Rami
    April 17, 2016

    I genuinely felt sad for our boys, They really seemed to give it their all, This match is almost a copy-paste of our the celta vigo loss in camp nou last season where it ended with 1-0, We played that match in a way you’ll expect it’ll end with 3-1 or 4-2, But it ended up as 1-0, And the main culprit was the GK…..

  23. Huckleberry
    April 17, 2016

    I repeat what I have said two weeks ago: what an unbelievable, epic breakdown of a team. 7:0 a few weeks ago. Now defeat. 6 games, 1 victory, and only due to a debatable send-off…. Really remarkable!

    • Jim
      April 17, 2016

      I think the word I used weeks ago was momentum after Villareal. It can become a huge weight. Nothing to do with football now. Every match will be a nightmare emotionally for the team and us. Still in pole position but no Pique midweek and we need to change something even if it’s just to make the team concentrate on something other than their woes.

  24. April 17, 2016

    Bench Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Alves, Douglas, Vidal, Bartra, Adriano, Munir

    Explain everything. Four full backs to be substituted. And one Forward who scores once in a lifetime. Brilliant Enrique… Brilliant. He should have brought in Alves and pushed to a 3-4-3 proper. But then we haven’t got any shape since the first leg match against Arsenal.

    • Davour
      April 17, 2016

      Well, he did ask for reinforcements in January… but the contrast to RM begin able to field James and Isco is of course stark…

    • G6O
      April 17, 2016

      You seem to have forgotten about the transfer ban

      January transfer windows are always a difficult time to make good transfers because it’s in the middle of the season and teams are naturally hesitant to sell their good players at that time

      LE in fact asked for Nolito, and we can all see why now. Had he been there to rotate one of MSN every other game, the season might have turned out quite differently. Today’s misses maybe don’t happen with a little bit more sharpness.

      But it is not only difficult to buy good players in January, it is also difficult to buy good players period when you have the highest wage bill in all of sports (not just football).. So it did not happen.

  25. Davour
    April 17, 2016

    They tried, huffed and puffed, but it wasn’t to be. It is hard to understand how Neymar has turned so bad after being to incredible he almost challenged Messi in brilliance. Now, a train wreck in slow motion. The finish was painful to watch; he was trying without thinking, never letting go of the ball in time, not knowing where to go, desperate.

    Still, many played well – Messi, Busi, Ini, Masch, in particular. Suarez awful, Rakitic way below any acceptable standard. Sergi ok, but a few lapses, etc.

    Thing is, though, the bench is completely empty. Without Arda and Rafinha, there is not even a hypothetical possibility to change anything (though Munir should have replaced Ney, for the hell of it…).

    It ain’t over yet, but it is damn near now. Just bring the good parts to Depor…

  26. Huckleberry
    April 17, 2016

    don´t know, what happened with the team. But if I were LE, I would step back. Such a complet loss of shape and form..

    • Davour
      April 17, 2016

      Let him finish the season, no? Please let not become RM, letting great coaches go in frustration instead of analyzing the situation (RM were tired as hell last year). The players, too, are responsible, and we have a tiny squad with little to be used to change anything.

    • Huckleberry
      April 17, 2016

      I would not sack him if I were president. I would step back if I were him.

    • Rami
      April 17, 2016

      He should step back because his 39 matches unbeaten team had a bad slum for a few weeks,? oh man you gotta be kidding me…

  27. lala10
    April 17, 2016

    Enter Your Comment… Karma is coming back to bite us. Neymar has been piss poor and so has been Suarez. During the second half when we were putting decent pressure on Valencia they were nowhere to be found. That stretch of play needed their input and we go ahead.

    Its bonkers to think we may lose this league we had sewn up. Abslotuley bonkers. And there is no need trying to defend the guys. They need to be kicked in the ass.

  28. lala10
    April 17, 2016

    Enter Your Comment… Neymar will come back but right now he has a bug eating at him. Slows down play whilst dithering with the ball. Can’t beat his man and complicates play. The intelligent runs have stopped and he is clogging the left berth. Dog tired he is.

    • Davour
      April 17, 2016

      Well, if you refuse to be subbed, you’ll be tired eventually…

  29. TITO
    April 17, 2016

    A lot, a lot of problems that we have noticed for a while now, even when we were winning, cause they were not wins similar to last season when you kind of knew that everything is going smoothly.
    Not this time though.
    I wouldnt like to be in our players skin for the upcoming games. The feeling is awful.
    P.s. Some players do need a good kick in th

  30. TITO
    April 17, 2016

    A lot, a lot of problems that we have noticed for a while now, even when we were winning, cause they were not wins similar to last season when you kind of knew that everything is going smoothly.
    Not this time though.
    I wouldnt like to be in our players skin for the upcoming games. The feeling is awful.
    P.s. Some players do need a good kick in the ass.

  31. lala10
    April 17, 2016

    Enter Your Comment… no wonder Atletico booted us out of UEFA. Simeone is a cautious coach spare with his opinions. But for once he was explicit in seeking a win at their home. Again the emphasis he made on winning the Granada game was of a man sure that there would be scraps to be had at the Camp Nou. If we lose this it will rank with Leicester winning the league

  32. ciaran
    April 17, 2016

    A lot of blame for Lucho but looking at his bench he had ter Stegen, 5 defenders and Munir. In what squad in Europe is there a worse bench?

  33. socrates
    April 17, 2016

    Dani must be feeling creative. Expect another video.

  34. luisthebeast
    April 17, 2016

    In first 20 minutes again the same as against madrid,Atletiko,Sociedad.How can they miss so easy chances?Neymar wants to play both Copa and Olympics?Ok PSG can pay 190m and bye bye.Next season i hope we get rid of all Brazilians.Unless we want a 2007-08 season.

  35. luisthebeast
    April 17, 2016

    I dont hate Neymar.He is top.But we cant risk our season for the Brazil NT.We must build a more European team.Latin Americans after the break are different.Imagine a Copa and then Olympics.How he would be next season?And if we give him rest for a month or two,we must buy a top winger to replace him.It s not easy.We also need a 9 back up,a RW,a CB,a LB,a CM.How much can we earn from Alves Adriano Vermaelen Douglas Tello Song?50m?And 50 the budget?100m is not enough.

    • G6O
      April 17, 2016

      I have new for you: there is only one Messi, one Neymar and one Luis Suarez on this planet.

      So if you want to build an equally good team with South American players, you’re out of luck.

      People are very quick to forget what these players are capable of when they’re fresh and at their best.

      If anything, today showed how premature it would be to react in such a knee-jerk manner to these losses. We had plenty of chances today, which we created because we still have the quality to do so, but we couldn’t convert because the team has collapsed from exhaustion.

      Watch the missed chances from this game for a good illustration of how much these things matter. Suarez sends the ball across the box to Messi, who is alone. Normally that’s an automatic goal. But he takes a touch, then hesitates a little, then sends an awkward shot straight at the GK. A fresh Messi pounces on that chances like a tiger and buries it with ease.

      Then Neymar tried to lob the GK in a 1-on-1, but couldn’t hit it hard enough so it did not get past him — again, a fresh player probably does better.

      Etc.

    • Rami
      April 18, 2016

      Bravo!, it’s nice to see a rational view and response to what happened yesterday.
      I completely agree, The loss looked undeserved, The players seemed to give their all physically, And there wasn’t a tactical issue evident by the fact they had serious scoring chances but missed it.

  36. luisthebeast
    April 17, 2016

    Also Busi is 28.We also need a young DM to learn from him.Samper is injured for 2 months.Can he be the answer?Dont know.We must build a squad without quaranteed players.A squad that the best will play and not always the same.Even Leo needs competition for the spot.I hope Robert be smart and the board be brave.

  37. PPos
    April 17, 2016

    This team is just tired. All the missed chances would have been finished by a fresh squad. Think about it. 90 minutes, for 55 games or so. Luis Enrique really hasn’t rotated very much this season. I just hope that messi scoring his 500th goal will unblock his recent drought. I think the statistic has been giving him some sort of mental block, because today and in previous games, the times that he has missed are because he has been too careful not to overshoot the ball, a fresh messi would have rocked those chances. BUT he is tired, and it shows. He has been hitting balls too soft. If I was LE, I would have subbed neymar for Munir. Ney was very poor today; he was running himself into crowded spaces and misplacing passes. Bad runs of form happen, You lose one game and it’s like a domino effect, until you win again, and that makes you believe.

  38. TITO
    April 18, 2016

    Everything that is pointed out is ok, but we are talking about bad period of time whane you lose focus. It’s the end of the season and La Laiga is at stake. Not mentioning that couple of weeks ago we had 10 points advantage.
    Still can’t believe that we are going to give this away after such a great season. Don’t know what it will take for the players to bounce back, maybe a good win at Deportivo, but it’s going to be tough as hell. And our back 2 will be Masch and Bartra.
    Let’s see, football is unpredictable, that’s why we love it.

    p.s. i don’t want to hear another bad word for Mascherano anymore, ever (after last night display).

  39. lala10
    April 18, 2016

    Enter Your Comment… The team and LE deserve to be put under the bus for their diabolical attitude.

    They deserve neither our sympathy nor our understanding. The more you think of it the more you come to the conclusion they should be pilloried from pillar to post. A spineless feckless bunch of presuming brats who think the weight of their jersey alone is enough.

    The only one who deserve to be exonerated is Masch who seemed to realize the import of the situation.

    • Davour
      April 18, 2016

      Are you kidding? I for one saw a team that worked hard, but were not able to finish their chances. Let us be careful in speaking of others beeing presuming…

    • Rami
      April 18, 2016

      What???!!!

  40. hong
    April 18, 2016

    Long-time lurker, first time poster here.

    I finally decided to register just to ask all of you to calm down. A reversion to mean is long overdue to be honest (albeit it happened in a bit of a drastic manner). And after all the wonderful moments the team has given to us for the past 1.5 season i think it is only right we supporters get behind them through this dip and not post something scary like what Lala10 just did.

  41. April 18, 2016

    I dont know, for some reason I knew we were going to lose this match too. And the fucking bloody Sony Espn, decided to show some discussion on Cricket for the first 25 or 30 minutes that I had to use a poor stream to watch it. Really, all these bloody channels in India has a step motherly attitude for Football.
    I still believe the team can win the remaining 5 liga and 1 copa match. But it is important that there is a plan for that. Like Jim mentioned in the previous post, there clearly seems like a lack of plan from LE, which is quite synonymous of Tata Martino’s last days. At the end of a match, when it looks like Masche was the best player for a Barca game, then there is something wrong with our strategy, for this is Barca, the team who is hell bent on winning by attacking.
    It was nice to see, especially in the second half, Messi creating lots of good passes and chances from the right wing. Such a pity that they were not used well. I do not want to blame any players, as we all know we have a poor bench and dog tired first elleven. But really Neymar, really, I felt sorry for the boy yesterday. Tricks dont win crunch matches. And when time wasting is used as a new ploy to defeat Barca these days, Neymar seems to be making his own contribution to it, by just holding the ball for who knows what kind of situations.
    Sorry Neymar, at one point in the second half yesterday, I was hoping LE would sub you for Munir. You looked so clueless.
    Hopefully lets win the remaining 5 matches and win this liga.
    In the mean time I hope let MCity gain some confidence and momentum and give a tough time to RM, so that by the time of the final, they will be tired. The points table would make RM try their best for liga matches, so its good they might get tired for CL game. But they do have a very good bench.

  42. Davour
    April 18, 2016

    After watching the highlights, it is obvious that this game was ours to win. We should not really criticise the play in that regard: we created more than enough to win, but some sloppy finishing and some great saves prevented this. The result should however not overshadow this fact. Their final chance, missed, had not existed had we buried our chances earlier, mind you.

    For the first goal, Rakitic does not follow his man vigilantly enough, and Bravo maybe should have stayed at his post (though flicks are always difficult). For the second, Sergi is too eager to press, when he should have closed down the runner.

    Maybe the team is too tired to produce five straight wins, but perhaps the other teams are, too, considering CL. We’ll see. But as someone mentioned above, perhaps this is the point where we really see the effects of the transfer ban at full display. Add Rafinha’s injury to that, also to a lesser extent Mathieu’s late injury and the failure (really difficult) to add players in January (would they have adapted? This is why Nolito was the only real option)… and we have a first eleven who has played far, far too much.

    If LE is to blame, it might be in that he has not reacted much tactically, as far as we know, to stir things up a little. But if tiredness is the issue, then tactics are just numbers. the chances to score are there. I think the only game where tactics were all wrong were against AM 2nd leg, where we were outsmarted and, to me, too hesitant in responding to their game plan.

    But let’s not throw in the towel yet – it is still far from over!

    • Davour
      April 18, 2016

      … And the next round will be crucial, on paper, as AM and RM face their toughest opponent in the remaining games. They can lose unexpected point, of course, but this is a good opportunity, as Bilbao and Villareal can actually offer a good fight.

    • Rami
      April 18, 2016

      Excellent points, LE might be blamed for tactical stagnation in RS match, Where we lacked in offense, But it doesn’t apply to yesterday’s match.

  43. mr.undercover
    April 18, 2016

    So April becomes our new helbuary

    its not that I don’t have faith in the team but its pratically hard to win the last 5 games! (we will face asspanyol Away) considering how the team is playing recently, very awfull in defence and wasteful in attack, real Madrid and atletico have the momentum with them and can easily win their remaining games, so we should not expect any gift from both of them, am not pessimistic neither pessimistic but am trying to be more realistic.

  44. Tata2
    April 18, 2016

    We can’t win all the remaining 5 games so this is hoping City upsets EE or either of Bayern or AM win the UCL then we slag it out with sevilla in copa del Rey with AM running away with the league and probably doing the double in the process. Gosh can’t believe we will be fighting for 3rd place after mid week

    • Rami
      April 18, 2016

      There is nothing hindering us from winning all of the remaining matches, Your predilection might have some weight had we played against Valencia in the same we played real sociedad, But we didn’t, The scoreline for anyone who watched the match was a red herring and unrepresentative of what actually happened on the pitch.
      Call me overly optimistic, But i’m almost sure the team we’ll get the job done.

    • April 18, 2016

      ^^ This—-
      We played really well today. Agreed, finishing has been our problem for a while, but from back to front, we played quite well for a team in a supposed dip of form. I am confident that we will bounce back. This team can do it.

    • Jim
      April 18, 2016

      It’s maybe just another way of looking at it but I don’t consider it playing well when your defence loses two bad goals, your midfield is posted largely missing and your forwards miss as many,and as good, chances as we did. I do, though, understand our desire to put a positive spin on things and support the team. What I would say is we fought really hard to get out of the trough we have been in for some time and just weren’t able. However, if we can’t improve in these areas we run the risk of the same thing happening again. I just find it hard to believe we can show our second half spirit again and not get a result.

      I can’t argue with LE’s decision to leave the eleven starters on ( maybe Alves for Rakitic would’ve added some invention to the midfield, especially with Messi) when you look at the bench. Messi, to me, is still playing reasonably well but Neymar looks done for this season. He’s not moving towards the ball ( started way back in the match where Alba played his two “poor passes”) so he’s getting caught from the back, he’s dithering on the ball and any dribbler who allows the ball to stand still makes his job twice as hard and he isn’t making the runs hewas doing and when he does get a chance he’s overthinking it. . None of this is intended to slag him. Im one of his biggest admirers but he needs rest. It speaks volumes that Alba created more from there than he did. Well done to the club for sticking to their guns about the summer events. We need him to be ready to take over from Messi and he is capable. Maybe we need to give him a more central role midweek. Just a different look at things sometimes works wonders in refreshing the mind. Part of our problem is that he and Messi seem to be unable to connect at the moment

      Whatever, he decides to do I reckon the one thing LE doesn’t do is send the team out without a tweak of some sort just to freshen things up. Options are limited but I’d like to see something that makes me think he’s not just sending them out again hoping for the best.

      Btw, to finish on a positive note, Pique completed three out of three dribbles in their half ! Pity he didn’t also sink the chance after bringing it down brilliantly. I also liked his determination that the team stick together and lift their spirits after the first goal. Although it’s probably unfair to judge by outward appearances, his and Masche’s exhortations at various points were good to see. Mind you, I’ve just remembered he’s not available for midweek 🙁

    • April 18, 2016

      And as much as i hate to read the Neymar incidents after the match, he was literally abused throughout the match and yet the Ref called no foul. How Enzo Perez stayed on for that long is beyond me.

  45. mr.undercover
    April 18, 2016

    apocalyptic scene, don’t wanna see that scene, prefer to be in a comma to witness that

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