Barcelona habe spent time reflecting on what is the factor which makes them less competitive when the moment of truth arrives in the Champions League. And inside and outside the club there's one reasonable suggestion: the problem has been that too many key players have played too many minutes by March.
This year, Ernesto Valverde's managed to have a more competitive squad, with at least 15 players having important roles, in contrast to previous seasons, when there was a set XI and you knew who the 12th man was. Players like Lenglet, Vidal and Aleña, to name three, are capable of playing quality minutes when before Andre Gomes, Digne and Alcacer could not. That's without even speaking about the luxury of having cracks on the bench like Dembele and Coutinho. And that's great news.
However, despite that improvement, there are two players playing more minutes than they should: Busquets and Rakitic have both played over 80 percent of minutes in all competitions. As explained by SPORT, only Kimmich (Bayern) has played more than the Barca duo of the midfielders at Europe's biggest clubs.
One plays so often because there's no replacement (Busquets) and the other because it seems he made a pact with the coach this summer (Rakitic). The reality is they're accumulating an excessive amount of minutes.
Logic suggested they should rest against Tottenham (Barça had nothing to play for having already won their Champions League group) but both player a half each.
Either Valverde finds the moment to rest them or the probability of another spring collapse increase hugely. We should remember that many of these minutes are bread for today but hunger for tomorrow.