Finishing second in your domestic league, playing in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, and playing in the final of the domestic cup competition may appear a more than adequate season for most football teams... but FC Barcelona is not just any other football team.
For them, this season has been an unmitigated disaster (that has been salvaged at times due to the individual brilliance of Lionel Messi) and it’s not just the end result. Real Madrid have looked palpably the better team in the league while it must be worrying that, however good that defence is, they never even looked like giving Juventus a moment of bother across two full legs of football! They’ve looked toothless, aimless and utterly pathetic at times and that is no way for Futbol Club Barcelona to go about their business.
While getting rid of the dramatically tactically-inept Luis Enrique is a step in the right direction, here are 5 major tweaks that the catalns could undertake to become the unstoppable force of yore... next season.
5. Ensure adequate squad depth
This may not sound like the most astute, Gary Neville-esque, bit of tactical analysis but the main reason for Barcelona’s poor run this season has been their rather hilariously weak squad. Where Real Madrid could afford to rest every one of their regular first-teamers and still come up with three points (as we saw happen for much of the last couple of months of the season), Barcelona simply couldn’t afford that luxury – or didn’t seem too comfortable with doing that.
A few of the buys simply haven’t been given time to settle in – like Arda Turan and Paco Alcacer, who are much better players than what most think of them today, others haven’t been good enough – Andre Gomes springs to mind here, while another bunch of players haven’t been trusted by the manager to do their jobs – fullbacks Lucas Digne and Aleix Vidal for example.
The first thing that the board must attend to (after, of course, clearing up the confusion surrounding Lionel Messi’s contract) is to ensure that they have at the very least 20 A-class players in the squad, players that the new coach approves of, so that they all get decent playing time and don’t waste away on the bench.
Re-investing a bit back into La Masia wouldn’t go amiss, either.