Barcelona seem once again to be in free fall, after suffering three straight defeats at Camp Nou for the first time ever in the same season.
As always seems to be the case the success of one of the El Clasico duo is the failure of the other and it won’t help that rivals Real Madrid continue to come back against their Champions League rivals.
Mental strength has been a question put to Barcelona for some time, in stark contrast to Real Madrid. Barcelona seemed to be slaying some of their demons with away victories in Europe and their 4-0 thrashing of Los Blancos, but those ghosts have reappeared.
With the pressure on in their most recent defeat to Rayo Vallecano, the Movistar Plus cameras caught the Barcelona team trying to gee each other up in the tunnel.
Ronald Araujo: “In the second half, we are a different team. We go out strong, we know what we have to do.”
Jordi Alba: “We have to get a result, we score one and that’s it. Let’s go.”
Araujo: “We can’t act like fools here. Let’s go with everything, we have a great team.”
Mundo Deportivo carried the quotes in which Alba and Araujo tried to motivate the side, but ultimately to no avail. El Dia Despues [The Day After], a programme on Movistar+, also put together a video showing Gavi’s clear frustration with his team, Rayo, the referee and anything else in his field of vision.
One of the exchanges centred on a late penalty not given, after Alejandro Catena pushed Gavi from behind. The two then entered into debate.
“But if you take me from in front. It’s textbook. You pushed me. It’s not a minimal contact. Those are always whistled, always.”
Gavi and Araujo have won plenty of fans for their attitude and approach this season, at times dragging Barcelona forward when veterans wouldn’t. Already at their tender ages, they appear to be stepping into the leadership roles at the club.