4 things Barcelona must do to win the Champions League
Defeat is inevitable in football. But the nature of Barcelona’s defeats and eliminations in the Champions League under Ernesto Valverde is sickening. A team like Barcelona does not accept humiliation, but that is what they are becoming used to under the coach. It is once bitten, twice shy. But in Barca's case, they have been bitten twice in the same manner in the Champions League. So, will they continue like this?
Barcelona prepared for the season with a clear objective - winning the Champions League. Their recruitment for the season was astutely executed. Clement Lenglet, Arturo Vidal, Arthur Melo, and Malcom were signed to provide depth and tactical variation to an already dominant squad. Dembele and Phillipe Coutinho were there to provide the spark from the wings.
Despite all these, they failed in Europe once again as they were sent crashing out of the Champions League following a 4-0 humiliation at the hands of Liverpool in the semifinal second leg - similar to what happened to them in Rome last season.
Given their embarrassing elimination from the Champions League despite their domestic dominance and recruitments, here are the likely adjustments La Blaugrana must make in order to lift the Champions League next season.
#4 Managerial change
The meek ‘little ant’ of Barcelona may never get the recognition he deserves. Despite Valverde's impressive coaching statistics of about 70 per cent wins and successive LaLiga titles, it can be argued that he is not an elite coach.
The Catalans have one of the most talented squads in Europe and Lionel Messi - the extraterrestrial. Despite this, under Valverde, Barcelona recruited heavily in order to win the Champions League they won last in 2015. But Valverde's poor squad management and lack of faith in the academy has hampered their chances in the last two seasons.
Also, Valverde’s appreciation of 4-4-2 over the club's traditional 4-3-3 shows clearly why he may never fit into the philosophy of the club. Valverde is too pragmatic for Barcelona. He has destroyed the possession and the attacking base of the club, thereby making the team lose the dominance and control they were known for.
Without Lionel Messi winning games for Barcelona singlehandedly, they might not have been able to retain the LaLiga title. Winning points have become so laborious that the team is always too reliant on Messi's messianic brilliance.
Losing once against Roma in the Champions League in that manner could be forgiven but the second time against Liverpool exposed his tactical weakness and showed why he might never learn his lessons.