Barcelona lost to Celta Vigo (4-3) after one of the worst performances that Luis Enrique's men have delivered this season. In fact, the only positive that Cules could take out of the match was Gerard Pique's current form. Although the result was certainly bad enough, it was the lack of understanding and solidarity between players that was the most worrying.
Barcelona is a team that needs their brilliant individuals to perform like a cohesive unit. However, and while their unique understanding of the game does enable the Catalans to win the majority of matches, the system also requires key individuals to perform at their best -- and I am certainly not only referring to the absent Lionel Messi or captain Andres Iniesta, but regular starters such as Sergio Busquets or Marc Andre Ter Stegen.
Here is what the players had to say after the away defeat against Celta in Vigo:
Sergio Busquets: “I’m one of the culpable parties. It’s clear it wasn’t one of my best games. The errors in the middle of the pitch penalised us a lot. I have to work hard and keep improving. We’re not robots or machines, sometimes you mess up because you don’t have control or you’re not well-positioned.We need to once again be the team that’s won so much these last few years.”
Marc Andre Ter Stegen: “It’s my fault, I’m really sorry. If I hadn’t made the mistake we could have won this game. Even though this has happened, I’m not going to change. It’s just happened once. It’s a tough defeat. We have to pick ourselves up and move forward. We have to work hard and continue on the same path.”
Kudos to both players for speaking up in front of the media and admitting their mistakes. However, pointing fingers at Busquets and Ter Stegen is neither productive nor a long-term solution.
Although it is still early days in the season and Barcelona are still only two points behind La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid, it is now time for Luis Enrique to start defining his preferred XI and grant them enough time to gel together, particularly during Messi's absence. Having only repeated his starting lineup once after 11 matches, it is clear the Asturian manager is ultimately responsible for Barca's latest defeat.
Here's hoping for a prompt reaction in the next match, against Deportivo La Coruna at the Camp Nou on Saturday 15th October -- a game you can stream to watch on your mobile, laptop or TV following this link.