Five keys to Barcelona's early elimination from the Champions League
1. No rotation
Ernesto Valverde kept repeating the same lineup over and over. The players, including seniors, have to perform at the biggest level every three days. Meanwhile, fresh new signings, such as Ousmane Dembele and Yerry Mina, sit on the bench. Naturally, the spine of the team is exhausted.
2. Why all the signings if they don't play?
Barcelona had two busy transfer windows, having secured Nelson Semedo, Yerry Mina, Ousmane Dembele, Paulinho and Philippe Coutinho. Only Semedo started against Roma on Tuesday night. Only Coutinho is cup-tied for that match. What about Mina, who didn't even make the bench? What about Paulinho, who enjoyed an impressive first half of the season? What about Dembele, who was signed as Neymar's replacement?
Let's not forget, Messi is still human. He can have bad days, he can suffer from injuries. The Argentine has been struggling with muscle overload for weeks but Valverde never gave him a proper rest. As a result, Messi was absent against Roma and nobody was able to stand up to fill the void. Both Paco Alcacer and Ousmane Dembele entered the field way too late.
4. Valverde's plan misfired
Valverde decided to implement a more conservative plan and that was a huge mistake. With this plan, he transmitted to his players a message of fear. They protected their lead instead of pushing for more. Barcelona are not made to defend, they need the ball to thrive. But their coach made them betray all their values which turned out to be a nightmare.
5. Treble-talks did a bad job
Barcelona were posed to win all the possible trophies. The players were constantly asked about the potential treble - the third one in their history. And all these treble-talks did a bad job for the Catalans. The target was unrealistic. Barcelona pushed hard to reach the Copa del Rey final in January and February and the players got eventually too burned out. As a result, the crucial Champions League knock-out stages turned out to be too much for them.
Agree with these reasons?