Fear of loss. Rome, Liverpool and Jeddah. While the importance and circumstances were different, all these clashes have something in common: panic attacks in a team that does not succeed in managing advantageous situations. On Thursday we played way better than we did at the Stadio Olimpico and Anfield, but the outcome was the same: defeat and a side sinking in its own fears, woes, phobias.
Barça could not kill off a match that was already won, in the same way that we failed in the previous two knock-out stages in the Champions League after crying victory prematurely at the Camp Nou. Barcelona fears mistake and its most recent past. Wounds that may not be healed for a long time, unless there’s a drastic change at the club.
Not only has the style and positional play been lost, but the solidity that was given by Valverde in his first season has also disappeared. A defensive fragility that has become increasingly clear, with rivals that just wait for an error from the Blaugranas to hurt them in the counter and turn the game into a chaotic encounter.
Is Barcelona harmed morally? How much do the recent fateful episodes affect the group when it comes to controlling tight situations? Are the players trapped in the past and scared of another nightmare? Why does a team packed with veterans make so many childish mistakes? As Johan would say, when you don’t know why you win, you don’t know why you lose either.