5 reasons why Ernesto Valverde was sacked as Barcelona manager
After months of intense speculation, it is finally official, Ernesto Valverde has been relieved off his duties as Barcelona manager after two-and-a-half years in charge of the Catalan club.
The 55-year-old was appointed by the Blaugrana as Luis Enrique's replacement in May 2017 and commenced work in the 2017-2018 season.
In his debut season on the Barcelona bench, Valverde inspired the club to the domestic double and almost finished the entire league campaign undefeated for the first time in the club's history. But a shock 5-4 loss to Levante on the penultimate weekend of the season meant that the record was not achieved.
In his second year, although they failed to defend their Copa title, falling to a 2-1 defeat to Valencia in the final, the Blaugrana successfully retained their La Liga crown , with a nine-point gap recorded over second-placed Atletico Madrid and a 19-point advantage over eternal rivals Real Madrid.
Ernesto Valverde won a total of four trophies in his time as Barcelona manager, while he also posted a 66.9% win ratio.
However, despite his triumphs in the league, the former Athletic Bilbao manager was never far from speculation surrounding his future and it was not a major shock when his contract was terminated to be replaced by Quique Setien.
There are several factors that led to Ernesto Valverde's sacking as Barcelona manager and in this piece, we shall be highlighting five reasons why he was fired by the Catalan giants.
#5 His pragmatic style of play
Barcelona are well known for their possession-based system of play, and this style has been ingrained in the club's DNA since the time of Johan Cruyff's spell at the club.
The legendary Dutchman laid the template and future stalwarts like Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique perfected it, guiding the club to new heights over the last decade.
Fans of the club are so used to this aesthetic system that not only are Barcelona expected to win every match they play, they are also expected to win in style while sticking to the set standard of playing.
Ernesto Valverde won matches (97 of the 147 he managed) and also has major trophies to show for his time at the Camp Nou.
However, he was often chastised for his uninventive and pragmatic style, with his safety first tactics drawing the ire of supporters and rivals alike.
Even in victory, Valverde failed to truly win fans over and having watched their beloved side labour to victory on several occasions over the last three seasons, they would hope the new man in charge can revert to the more expansive and aesthetic football that they are used to.