Ernesto Valverde is coming under pressure with every passing game. Barcelona’s mediocre start to the campaign coupled with the inability to get Neymar has raised concerns. The club have so far been able to get away from the spotlight due to attention on Real Madrid, who have been experiencing even greater troubles. The draw with Borussia Dortmund, though, should not take focus away from Barcelona’s troubles.
Rumours have started about Barcelona considering the possibility of a managerial change with PSG boss Thomas Tuchel being considered as an alternative. Valverde was able to lead Barcelona to a league title last season, but it is difficult to forget the substandard performances in Europe. The last appearance in a final for Barcelona came in 2015 and last season’s humiliating second leg defeat against Liverpool is one of the many poor away results for the team under Valverde.
If not for the brilliant performance from Marc-Andre ter Stegen, we could have ended up conceding a lot more goals against Dortmund.
The goalless draw against Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park means that Barcelona’s last away victory in a competitive game was back in April. In fact, the team has only picked up two away victories since April of last season. There is a huge problem when it comes to the club’s away form and Valverde once again tried to sweep them under the carpet after the game against Dortmund.
Messi’s return is a huge boost for the club, but there are several problems for the team at the back. The defensive fragility has been a huge worry in this early part of the campaign. It would be extremely wrong to depend on Ter Stegen in every game. Yet, the clean sheet against Dortmund may just provide the team with better confidence levels going into the match against Granada this weekend. It will be a massive couple of weeks for the club with opponents like Villarreal, Inter Milan, and Sevilla coming up in the next five games.
Valverde has done a good job on paper by winning two La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, and one Supercopa de Espana. Yet, he is largely unpopular amongst supporters and it is clear that a lot of expectation is being placed on him when it comes to the Champions League. Real Madrid’s recent successes in the competition have been major factors towards making supporters expect more out of the team in Europe, but it is hard to deny that a regression has happened on this front.
This is a team in transition and it is expected to go through periods of struggle. Yet, it is becoming clear that the struggles are extremely quite a bit. After having spent a large sum of money in the summer, Valverde is yet to make improvements. He is helped immensely by the domestic and European competitions being still in the infancy. Despite the mediocre start, Barcelona are only three points behind the top of the La Liga table while the draw with Dortmund is still a positive result.