Valverde seguirá al frente del Barça

Valverde becomes Bartomeu's umbrella

OPINION

@ErnestFolch

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu surprisingly backed coach Ernesto Valverde with a clear message: "He is the coach we want, both in the medium-term and the long-term." 

Bartomeu's words suggest Valverde will continue regardless of what happens in the Copa del rey final, although we will see how he reacts if there's another loss. What's clear is that Bartomeu's applying the same recipe to the Anfield debacle as he is to all crises: calmness, play for time and if there are doubts, opt for the least traumatic option. 

The club will value the La Liga title and, if they can win it, the Copa, too, and give Valverde another chance. Sacking the manager is a taboo subject at Camp Nou. It seems Bartomeu will follow the tradition of not using the guillotine. 

Everything suggests the sporting department will be OK as well. Bartomeu has remodelled it twice but the Champions League exit looks set to have the deepest affect on the dressing room. Because at the moment there are a lot of debates about the coach, the model of play and the academy, but there's only one thing people agree on: the main people responsible for the Liverpool and Roma losses are the players. 

The fourth goal at Anfield is an example: a collective switch off which has nothing to do with the coach or the sporting department. 

The squad has little competition, is ageing and is comfortable. There are too many sacred cows and they have too much power. The cannons are pointing at the players. Meanwhile, Bartomeu 'saves' Valverde, who becomes his umbrella. If all goes well, it's a great decision. If it doesn't, the coach will eventually pay. 

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