Barcelona are once again coming to terms with life in the Europa League after a disastrous Champions League group stage. Undoubtedly the pressure is on at Camp Nou, but according to former Blaugrana forward Thierry Henry, it could be far worse.
The Catalan club spent €157m in the summer as they looked to revolutionise their squad and put Barcelona back amongst the footballing elite. Both financially and on a sporting level, exiting the Champions League is deemed a considerable setback.
Speaking on CBS Sports after the match, Henry explained that the clock was ticking in Catalonia.
“At Barcelona, there is no time. That is one of the most complicated things. People expect to win right now, especially now, they need to win after summer investment. The results count, as happened with Steven Gerrard. They got rid of him very quickly, they didn’t let him work to make a team.”
However Henry was of the opinion that Xavi’s past with the club was shielding him from much of the heat.
“But yeah, let me tell you if it was another coach right now at Barcelona, dealing with what’s happening, it would have been a volcano even more than what it is… the volcano would have erupted. But because it’s Xavi, it’s kind of okay.”
One way or another, the buck will stop with the manager according to the great Frenchman. The Mirror covered his quotes.
“They are second in the league. We all know [Robert] Lewandowski should have scored at Bayern but it’s not his [Xavi’s] fault that Lewandowski missed three chances and it’s not his fault if they didn’t call the penalty on [Denzel] Dumfries, but you’re the coach at Barcelona and you’re going to be judged.”
“Barca have gambled on the Champions League and they need that money because of what they did in the summer.”
Henry’s point seems a solid argument. Xavi has been given an easier ride than the likes of Ronald Koeman, even though the Dutch manager has his own place in Blaugrana history.
Should Xavi not be the man to lead Barcelona forward, it could present something of crisis at the club. Most, if not all, of Barcelona’s hopes had been placed in him and changing direction would represent a major re-evaluation of the direction of the club.