Is Valverde the right person to manage Barcelona?

Ernesto Valverde Tejedor joined F.C Barcelona as a manager on 29 May 2017 after leaving Athletic Bilbao. Soon after he joined, he faced a huge problem. Club superstar Neymar Jr. left the club to start a new chapter in his life at Paris Saint Germain. With a demoralizing 2016/17 season, Barça players were in desperate need of a spark to start their season. This spark however was extinguished by Real Madrid, who beat Barcelona on an aggregate of 5 goals to 1, at the very start of the season. Our friends at Novibet were not betting on Barcelona lifting any silverware this season and, to be honest, nobody could blame them for it.

With so much negativity happening, expectations hit rock bottom. People thought that now the fairytale era was coming to an end. But this was not to be!

With Messi more motivated than ever, Barcelona started playing like no one would expect. Barça were cruising past teams with a certain panache. With defeating both Juventus and Real Madrid with a margin of three goals, the club was truly on track. People started dreaming again. People started expecting again. Then came April. After miraculously drawing with Sevilla earlier, Barcelona lost a 4-1 home lead to Roma and were knocked out of the champions league. Everyone was devastated. Dreams were broken and there was a sad aura surrounding the club. No one expected this to happen and Valverde is the person who had to take most of the blame. He set a tired Barça side to defend, which backfired very badly. He later went on with the team to win the Copa del Rey and the La Liga titles. People still didn't seem very convinced. Did he do that bad a job?

Valverde has formerly won six titles, five of them coming with Olympiakos, and one with Bilbao- being the Spanish Supercup, which uncompleted the Blaugrana’s second sextuple. He also won UEFA’s La Liga Manager of The Year in the 15/16 season. With Barcelona, he has an impressive winning rate of 68.97 percent, in which he has only lost five games and drawn eleven, winning an outstanding forty games! This is a pretty impressive record. But did he score where it mattered?

In terms of the impact of the losses, Barça have been hit very badly. Three losses, namely two against Real in the Supercopa and the one against Roma cost us two titles. The one against Levante cost the Azulgrana an unbeaten season and the one against Espanyol didn’t cost the club. His lack of trust on the bench as well as the Masia has raised some questions.

The tactical setup has been a really weird one. In some games, Barcelona have played their level best by playing attractive and beautiful football (example vs. Betis, Sevilla), sometimes dreadful (example vs. Roma, Levante) and generally in some games have been mediocre.

Does he deserve another chance at Barcelona? He has been managing much smaller clubs earlier and was his first time with such a big club with such huge names. In my opinion, he should definitely be given another year at Barcelona and, with signings such as Griezmann, go one better and lift the Champions League trophy in his second season:

By Soham Banejee