FC Barcelona might fire Ernesto Valverde today. The manager is under siege after a string of bad results that culminated in losing two leads in the last two matches. First, against last-placed Espanyol in the league, and then, to Atlético Madrid in the Spanish Supercup.
However, it’s not just this season’s results that have hurt the Spaniard. It’s his legacy over the two previous seasons, in which his team melted down twice after gaining commanding leads in the UEFA Champions League.
While he won La Liga both seasons, it’s those kinds of debacles that will come to define his tenure. His inability to stop history from repeating itself has made fans lose all confidence in him.
Barcelona clearly felt the ghosts of the past at Anfield. Their experience at AS Roma the season before came back to haunt them, and Valverde could not steer the ship. His lack of leadership was a fatal flaw.
This season, the sense of malaise has permeated the club. There have been fits and starts, but Barça have not felt like Barça yet. There’s a lack of direction and urgency in this team.
A mental reset was necessary last season. Deciding to stick by Valverde was a baffling decision, one that is being corrected perhaps too late now.