Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has today moved to assure that the club remain fully behind under-fire manager Ernesto Valverde.
Spanish champions Barcelona have endured a somewhat-perplexing start to the season.
The Blaugrana currently sit 2nd in the La Liga table, a point adrift of early leaders Real Sociedad (who have played 2 games more).
They are also top of the Champions League Group F table, ahead of both Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan.
This, on the surface, paints the picture of a side who have enjoyed a largely-impressive start to the campaign.
However, this has in fact proven far from the case.
Despite having added the likes of Frenkie de Jong, Junior Firpo and Frenkie de Jong to the club’s squad during the summer, Barca have, for the most-part, struggled performance-wise.
They have looked both shaky defensively and disjointed going forward, with an over-dependence on the brilliance of Lionel Messi as evident as ever.
In Europe, the Catalan giants have been extremely fortunate to notch the 8 points that they have from their 4 Champions League outings to this point, with Borussia Dortmund having utterly-dominated Ernesto Valverde’s men in Germany, and Slavia Prague having created a hatful of clear-cut chances over the course of the two meetings between the clubs.
Barca’s last two fixtures, meanwhile, have seen them follow a 3-1 La Liga defeat at Levante with a drab 0-0 draw with Slavia during the week.
‘Valverde has this ability’
The Blaugrana’s struggles, though, come despite the club’s squad being jam-packed with top-class talent.
As such, the lifeless nature of the Spanish powerhouse’s most recent displays have inevitably seen the finger widely-pointed at manager Ernesto Valverde.
Even during Barcelona’s dominant domestic campaign last time out, large sections of the club’s fans made abundantly clear their unhappiness with Valverde, with many of the opinion that his tactical incompetence is too often masked by individual brilliance.
As a result, amid mounting pressure on the Spanish tactician from supporters and the media alike, Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu was this afternoon drawn on the club’s stance regarding Valverde’s position.
His response, though, was not what many would have been hoping for.
Speaking in an interview with the Associated Press, Bartomeu assured that Valverde is the ‘ideal coach’ to lead the club forward into a new era:
‘This season we have brought young players who must help us overcome these stages. We believe that Valverde is the ideal coach to lead this combination of a generation of players of a certain age who have been so successful, with that of promising players.’
‘It is important to create this link, this union, to form a new team and this new group that will take Barça forward. And Valverde has this ability.’
Quotes via Marca