Getting knocked out in the Champions League in the quarter-final stage for the third time in a row was strongly uncalled for and unexpected given the form of Barcelona domestically. The bittersweet campaign that ended up with a domestic double but a loss of the Crown of Europe to Real Madrid for the third consecutive time is certainly one to forget.
Barcelona was knocked out of UCL quarter-finals by AS Roma on away goals.
The awe-inspiring performance domestically stood in stark contrast to their performance in UCL where they somehow managed to scrape through till the quarter-final stage. Barca struggled in away matches, especially against Chelsea and Roma.
Valverde needs to be less conservative and this I assume he would’ve already learned after the Roma game where his idea to contain the opponents till the end worked against the team as Roma, on the other hand, pressed high up the pitch with the physicality element omnipresent. It was the most un-Barca like performance where even Messi was starving for the ball because of a defensive tactic.
Valverde also has to understand those important players such as Iniesta and the likes should not be used the way they were used even after having a healthy lead in La Liga. The fatigue factor was one of the principal reasons for the poor performance in UCL because the key players had been playing week in week out and with the matches piling up together it became exhausting for the players.
The lack of a strong bench exacerbated the situation for the team. Had the backups been potent enough the coach could’ve used rotations in the starting lineups in less crucial matches. Paulinho had declined after a good start, Andre Gomes, Aleix Vidal, Paco Alcacer, all failed to impress. It should be noted that La Liga can be won by strong starting elevens but a competition like UCL needs a balanced 23 man squad. Should they address these flaws, the coveted Treble awaits them not only the UCL.