What some top teams like Manchester City and Barcelona are lacking that has been leading to their failure in big games in the pass few seasons.
Barggssports will take a walk through “What some TOP teams like Man City and Barca LACK”
After the glorious days like lets say four or more seasons seasons ago, Manchester City and Barcelona have enjoyed some glorious moments against top clubs be it domestically or in European competitions.
A good example in this case will be Barcelona in the pass four seasons.
Barcelona through the times of Pep Guardiola to Luis Enrique have enjoy a lot of memorable moments both domestically and in Europe. Not even a lot of TOP European clubs could tame the Barcelona of that era.
The issue many football fans including the board of clubs of this caliber are still blind at is thinking major signings or a change of coach is the solution.
Under Ernesto Valverde’s Reign at Barca.
Barcelona bowed out of the Champions League in knockout stages in two consecutive seasons under the same circumstances – (giving up massive 1st-leg leads in their 2nd leg encounters). Then we saw the reign of Quique Setien where Barca went trophyless after Valverde was dismissed this pass season. Barce even saw themselves with an embarrassing 8-2 defeat to a now gargantuan Bayern Munich in the last season UCL KO.
Despite appointing a new manager [Koeman], Barca has already started the season poorly picking just 7 points in 5 games of match week 7- their worst in decades.
What they are Lacking
The question remains the same “why the same performances from such teams despite managerial changes and new signings?”
Honestly speaking, i don’t think that the coaches are solely responsible and hence the need to change them. Although it’s true that coaches play a vital role in how the team delivers, they are not entirely liable for the results at the end of each game.
For example, looking back at Valverde’s times at Barca;
One can see that the same team under Valverde that were beaten 3-0 by Roma in UCL 17/18 had earlier in the first leg won confidently by 4 goals to 1. The same team that bottled it against Liverpool in 18/19 UCL had earlier won 3-0 in the 1st leg. Again before the 8-2 thrashing by Bayern last season, the team had beaten Sevilla 4-0 earlier in LaLiga.
A look at Manchester City’s Champions League exits.
Knocked-out by Monaco in round of 16: Despite winning Monaco at home 5-3, Man City still lost to Monaco when the trailed 2-0 in Monaco.
Knocked-out by Liverpool in the Quarter finals: The Reds won Manchester City both away(1-2) and home (3-0) which saw Man City eliminated with a 5-1 on aggregate.
Knocked-out by Tottenham in the Quarter finals: Manchester City lost 1-0 to Tottenham at away. Manchester City however won the second leg 4-3 after when the had a disallowed goal defined by VAR in the stopage time. This means Tottemham progressed with a 4-4 aggregate on goal advantage.
Knocked-out by Lyon in the Quarter finals: The was no away and home games amidst the corona virus pandemic . Lyon however trashed an in form Manchester City (who eliminated Real Madrid) 3-1.
All these speaks volume on the idea that the managers nor the lack of signings have been the major problem. Of course not. Because all these teams have always signed top top players and even top top managers as well.
The dynamics of the beautiful game has changed in recent times. Big teams are bottling it against seemingly smaller ones. Big names are finding themselves on the losing end of games.
Why? because now the games don’t only depend on ability but also on mentality and drive. Ability alone won’t take you there, as can be seen in the case of Barca over these last three seasons. Same goes with Manchester City. These teams lack a strong game mentality and fighting spirit. Press them high and they begin to shrink. Take the lead in a game and they give up almost too soon, and watch them make more blunders and concede more goals. There was a time when such teams could easily build up from the back under pressure and could make comebacks even after being a goal or two down.
In the 2018/2019 UCL nobody saw Ajax coming until they slayed all the giants in the competition. On paper, they were seemingly smaller in ability than their opponents, but with added drive and a strong mentality to win they achieved this feat. The same can be said for Tottenham in the UCL semi final of that same season.
I had pin-point aging squad and game intensity too though it has little to play.
This case can mostly be seen in Barca. The team has been allowed to age together and have not been given assistance. The game has become too fast/intensive for aged players to cope with. But yet they are left to play 50+ games person. When it comes to the business and most busy period (end of season), their legs are gone. Such clubs should consider looking for fresh players who can go through 80 minutes for 45+ games.
Pique in 2015-2026 Season: ” He [Luis Enrique] made us undergo two hours of intensive set piece defensive drills”. A reaso behind the improved defensive record in both Europe and in Laliga during that season.