August 23, 2019
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Barcelona fans point finger at Valverde

 Barcelona's head coach Ernesto Valverde leads his team's training session at the Joan Gamper facilities in Sant Joan Despi, Barcelona, Spain, May 24, 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/ALEJANDRO GARCIA

Barcelona's head coach Ernesto Valverde leads his team's training session at the Joan Gamper facilities in Sant Joan Despi, Barcelona, Spain, May 24, 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/ALEJANDRO GARCIA

Barcelona, May 26 (efe-epa).- Following Barcelona’s atrocious exit from the UEFA Champions League at the hands of Liverpool, all eyes were firmly on coach Ernesto Valverde’s ability to come up with a face-saving strategy in Copa del Rey final, which turned to a fiasco for him as well.

Barcelona’s 2-1 loss to Valencia on Saturday evening was a second major disappointment for the Catalan club this month, coming just 18 days after their stunning 4-0 collapse against Liverpool in the second leg of the Champions League semifinal.

After the debacle in Liverpool, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu quickly offered his backing for the Spanish coach, confirming he would stay with the side despite the second consecutive Champions League disappointment.

Bartomeu did the same after Copa del Rey’s flop.

Although Barcelona clinched the 2018/19 La Liga title for the 26th time in its history, its eighth league title in 11 years and its second in a row, hopes of a treble, then just a domestic double, faded away.

Now the decision is complicated, as the board has to analyze if the two losses in recent weeks outweigh the league victory.

However, this is soccer and everything is possible in the coming days. The Camp Nou is expected to be active during the summer transfer window whether or not Valverde stays.

The only sure thing is that Frenkie de Jong, Ajax’s promising midfielder, will join the Catalan club in time for next season.

But there are question marks for Bartomeu is facing, like what to do with Jasper Cillessen and Ivan Rakitic, who could have played their last game with Barcelona on Saturday.

Then there is Samuel Umtiti and Philippe Coutinho, who both look unlikely to stay at Barça.

Bartomeu has not proven himself to be a decisive man.

Since his arrival at the club after the resignation of Sandro Rosell in Jan. 2014, he has hired two coaches: Luis Enrique and Ernesto Valverde.

The club appears to be at a crossroads and may require deep changes if it wants to regain its European form next year. EFE

fa/hi

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