Strain within the Barça first team

El primer equipo del Barça durante la sesión de entrenamiento de este lunes en la Ciudad Deportiva Joan Gamper / MIGUEL RUIZ / FCBARCELONA
Barça’s first team during today’s training session at Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper / MIGUEL RUIZ / FCBARCELONA

The strain within the Barcelona first team grows, the tension between the players and the coaching staff grows even further and it’s driving a wedge within the Barça dressing room.

The last few months Barça haven’t been impressed by the sports irregularities and institutional problems that wastes the image of the club. It seems that when it comes to the Catalan entity, there are no days off and there is always something to talk about.

This time round, it’s about the tension within Barcelona’s own dressing room. The rumours started from last El Clásico at the Santiago Bernabéu, where Barça lost two goals to zero, Eder Sarabia, Quique Setien’s assistant coach was the subject of discussion for his effusiveness and intensity during the match, for many, it was in excess. Since then, disagreements began within the squad, where it was reported that he also lacked manners.

However, since last week things have gotten more critical. Starting with the sporting situation that puts Barça at risk of not winning the championship, where they no longer depend on themselves to become champions, among other poor unconvincing run of games that bore unfavourable results. The tension has further increased to the point that the players blame the coach, and Vigo clash was the final crack that finally broke the glass.

The draw against Celta de Vigo, left Real Madrid as the solo leader and greatly reduced the chances of Barça being the champion once again. Luis Suárez, after the game declared that, “This is something for the coaches to analyze such situations. Ours is to give it our all on the field.” Speaking about the shocking loss of points in away games. Suarez’s dart and the video where it is seen that the Captain Lionel Messi clearly ignoring the instructions from Eder Sarabia, triggered the image of mistrust in the coaching staff.

According to ESPN, since the arrival of Quique Setién, there has been no connection between him and his players, and now the relationship between the Cantabrian and the squad is beginning to become even more tense. According to the same report, many of the players supported the continuity of Ernesto Valverde, thus the efforts of the technical staff to please and convince the players have therefore become unfruitful.

Another friction between the two sides is becoming more visible because the group feels that the team’s problems, difficulties creating opportunities and materializing them, are being created from within by not working on the positional play during training, as reported by ESPN in the same report.

Besides, SER Catalunya’s talk show ‘Què T’hi Jugues’, reported that before yesterday’s training session, there was a tense meeting between Quique Setién and the players. The squad spoke about several points that are not clear, among them that Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez are not supporters of Eder Sarabia’s behavior and they do not like it. During the same meeting, there was also an inducement that Ernesto Valverde’s dismissal was accepted within the dressing room, as long as Xavi arrived, not Quique Setién, according to SER Catalunya.

ESPN also reported that the need to have two goalkeeping coaches is questioned since Marc-André ter Stegen prefers to work with José Ramón de la Fuente because of the great relationship they have, instead of Jon Pascua who arrived in January alongside Setien.

Quique Setién signed a contract with Barça in January, for one year with the option of extending for another year depending on the board that is in charge of the club after the 2021 elections, nevertheless due to poor results and questionable performances, Setién has lost all credibility and the confidence of the board of directors and the players. Therefore, his time at Barça could indeed come to a premature end.

Moreover, according to Radio Catalunya, another coaching change is not ruled out if the situation does not improve and if the results do not seem convincing, hence Barcelona could, therefore, have a new coach to face the Champions League. The chosen one would be Francisco Xavier García Pimienta, the then-current Barça B coach, who is about to renew his contract with the club.