FC Barcelona is not very shiny at the moment and it is disappointing when everyone looked warned. Some are taking advantage of the mid-term elections, the direction, the choice of coach, the players, and even the implication of Messi for a touching replacement. It is clear that we are looking for a culprit, a scapegoat, who will have to take over all the failure, leave jokingly and allow the sun to return and smile. Besides, it is never so simple and binary …
In a small La Liga match, with a very empty Wanda and before the exit from Pique’s injury, Barça received a goal from Yannick Ferreira Carrasco. A small goal, which will not offer any opportunities for the Catalans to respond in hard time. The departure of Kike Setien, who was to blame for the low attitude of some and the arrival of Ronald Koeman, the legendary defensive shooter of the “Kings”, had to avoid this. When the first never won, he had only two experiences as a coach in D1, Battav was in charge for 20 years, he won championships and rebuilt the Netherlands in particular. After only one victory in the last 5 days of the Primera, the votes are already increasing for the dismissal of the coach, the management, the players and the reminder of another legend, Xavi, with almost mystical certainty about his future success.
But how do you assess the coach’s work, then?
The cases of Luis Enrique, Ernesto Valverde, Kike Setien and Ronald Koeman are interesting in trying to answer this question. How do we evaluate the work of the coach and above all, how do we evaluate his ability to do better or worse than his predecessor or his successor. The first indicator is the most binary: victory. We win, the coach is right, we lose, the coach is wrong. This contradicts Barça’s Cruyffist legacy, but it is a logic that many people love. Coaches even put up with it well, raising their torso after more than happy victories because there is nothing more important in football than three points. For the game and the pleasure or even the pride of watching his team, we will be back.
We can also try to think of coaching as a process, a path that must lead the team from point A to point B in a more or less long and straightforward way. In this logic, it is the factors other than the result that come into play, even if, of course, it has its place. Ultimately, this is what allows us to assess whether the coach is right or not. However, it does not have to be the first indicator to be seen. It is difficult to access all the components that allow a coach to judge in this way. However, the progress of the game, the ability of the team to believe in its faculties, to change its game, to have privileged circuits, the technical or tactical progress of certain players offer the tip of the iceberg. Underwater, interesting indicators are the interactions with the group, the dynamics of work, the group’s trust in the project of its coach. Things that make it possible to build something solid, able to withstand storms and eventually find the sun.
No matter what logic is used to judge a coach’s work, it is still important to have a fair view of the workforce when the coach arrives. Luis Enrique and Ernesto Valverde generally succeeded in their pass on the Barça bench. They left a special image in the minds of many followers, but kept the club in the spotlight, allowing it to evolve into the game, sparing the goat and cabbage with a questionable choice of Direction. When Quique Setien arrives, signs of wear are noticeable. The group is starting to show worrying signs that were already visible under Valverde (hello Roma). Cruyffist’s dream ends with an 8-2 win over Bayern, which seals his future and allows Mondovisia to show the fatigue of Barça’s workforce. Him? He will never be able to reconcile the desire to play and the visceral need for Barça to win.
In an attempt to rewrite the Catalans, Ronald Koeman was appointed. A legend of the club, with a solid reputation as a coach and above all an intransigence that has left its mark, especially in Valencia, he has everything to be a man for this job. As a bonus, he is one of the few who agreed to come, he then engaged with the Netherlands and with the Euro 2021 before his eyes, he decided to give up everything to throw himself on the bed of a club that seems doomed to suffers in the next few months. In particular, Messi’s “Burofax”, the census proposal ending in Bartomeu’s resignation, the forthcoming elections, KOVID, negotiations to reduce the wages of the entire workforce. Ronald Koeman has to deal with a number of problems without a workforce renewal and some think he will get Barça back on top of the bill on time. Barça has several problems, wanting to personalize them at all costs is one of them, perhaps one of the most important. Dead goats are just escape routes, they have no therapeutic virtue.
Cavi as a savior or an eternal rush?
For a long time, Barça has been spreading its Messi Qué Un Club maxim as a slogan, a way to show the world of football that to love Barça is to love the game before the results. That one could not see each other and that the first should be required to have access to the second, and to be able to be proud of it, very proud. Except that this Barça, especially fantasized in reality, has since become a machine for earning and winning. To the point where we no longer know that it is a priority for the club. In the midst of all this, the Socialists, who are to embody the guarantors of the institution of inheritance, have also embraced this reversal, because victory and wealth are a pleasant situation. We all want to be on top, and when we are there, some are capable of staying there for anything. Whatever the cost.
Ronald Koeman’s situation is interesting now. His legendary status still protects him a little, but the anger is growing around him. He is too cautious, his 4-2-3-1 does not always work, he does not trust Ricky Puig enough or he has only one plan that works only rarely. Except that it is heresy to think that Ronald Koeman is the only problem and that his replacement with another will allow Barça to regain the top. It may not be the most appropriate, but you must take into account the overall context of your environment to offer the most equitable assessment of your work. He does not have the results, but nothing is favorable for him and some progress is noticed. We must accept defeat, especially in the current institutional situation, in order to hope for a bright future, with or without it.
At the moment, Xavi is favored by many as the only one who can bring Barça back to the top of Europe. Without doing football fiction, Barça’s tallest player is in Qatar, he has rejected the first approaches and is not unanimous about it. His toy career is what it is, his interviews are interesting, but there is no guarantee that he can handle it better in this context. The example with Milan AC Post 2012 is interesting. This year, the Lombards must absorb the departure of legends like Gattuso, Seedorf, Nesta or Pipo Inzaghi. The club will enter a long period of uncertainty with a very dubious choice of directions. It will take almost 8 years to regain some kind of consistency.
The Rossoneri have started recruiting average players at the end of their contracts or starring at the end of their careers during this period. The results do not follow, and the management will start spending its legends on its bench. Seedorf, Inzaghi and then Gattuso followed each other for a period of 5 years. No one will be able to stay on the Milan bench for more than a year. Success as a player has never guaranteed that he will succeed as a coach. It is all a matter of context and resilience, accepting this and difficult times can limit the effects of the crisis rather than wanting everything right away, which is likely to make it worse. If Xavi comes and fails, who will be called next? Here? Dani Alves? Puyol? Victor Valdes? To enter into this logic means to take the risk of burning its legends and constantly repeating the same situations without getting to the root of the problem. Barça changed coaches, this did not solve the problems we saw at the end of last season, so why hope that the change will once again allow the situation to evolve? In this sense, the next elections appear as a hope to see this dynamic change, to finally enable every coach, whoever he is, to work in a favorable environment. As we often say, after the rain comes the good weather, you just have to be patient.
@ Benjamin B_13