Barcelona seemed doomed to a transition season and suffering, shaken from the beginning by the serious institutional crisis that caused a motion of censure and the resignation of Josep Maria Bartomeu, the economic depression that prevented the locker room regeneration with contrasted signings, and the sports anxiety after Messi’s threat to leave the club, burofax through. The course did not start well for a team that reached the turn of the year accumulating four draws and four defeats in the League that made us fear even for qualification to play the next Champions League. He missed the key Koeman, who despaired at the defensive fragility and the lack of offensive effectiveness.
But the Dutchman liked what he saw, he considered that the foundations were being laid for a resurgence, that the work was good and that the quality had not disappeared. I just needed to find the balance. And he found it on February 27 at the Sánchez Pizjuán, in a match in which the options of staying alive in the League were at stake after having a foot and a half outside the Champions League (they lost the first leg of the round of 16 against PSG by 1- 4) and the Cup (they were defeated by Sevilla in the first leg of the semifinals 2-0). Questioned and criticized, the Dutchman gave a blow of effect that nobody expected by changing the tactical drawing. Three centrals, two lanes, three midfielders and two forwards, although the formation could vary slightly depending on the players chosen. It worked so well that he hasn’t changed it anymore.
The good dynamics with which the team was already arriving allows us to now present some spectacular numbers: nine consecutive wins away from home in the league and 19 games without losing (16 wins and 3 draws) since the defeat against Cádiz (2-1), on December 5. «Lately we have achieved very good results, the team is confident And today we face a great game against a team that has also improved during the season, we are both fighting for the maximum. And the maximum for both is to win the League. For that it is important to win this meeting, “said Koeman yesterday, who played down the classic. “The result, in principle, is not decisive because later we have many days to go.”
Although the Barça coach has always maintained that the level of the team has been good, regardless of the results, he is aware that there has been a change in dynamics that allows him to dream of an unthinkable double at the beginning of the course: «We have improved in defense, in effectiveness and in the system, with which we have shown that we can change it during the games. The team has taken shape and has put energy, and that is what I ask for this game. Don’t go crazy and be ourselves. And he explains his influence on the change: «A new coach needs time to find your game. You make changes and you need patience. We varied systems, we lost games without deserving it … We worked together and strong, we bet on young people and we had to be patient ». A bet that has led Barça from seeing the abyss closely to dreaming now of a possible double in the League and the Cup.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism