Thing are seemingly looking up in the Catalan capital, with Barcelona sitting both atop the La Liga table, as well their Champions League group.
Of course, we are still very much in the early days of the ongoing 2019/20 campaign but for Ernesto Valverde, life is currently good in Catalonia.
But even so, many of the Cules are not happy at all.
And just like many times before, Valverde is once again the reason for their unhappiness. After all, the Basque coach is the main target of their criticism almost on a daily basis and social media is full of comments requesting his departure from the club.
By all means, the Blaugrana boss is paying the price of being at the helm of a highly successful club that insists on both results and performance.
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But even if the latter is sometimes missing, it’s really difficult to condemn Valverde for the former.
And yes, many of his biggest critics will immediately remind us that his Barcelona is the one that got demolished and frankly, embarrassed, at Anfield last season and the Olimpico the season before. And they would be right.
Valverde is by no means a perfect coach and might be even less so when it comes to managing a team like Barcelona, but for all his faults, mishaps and weird decisions, he is still very much underrated.
Granted, this does sound a bit suspect. How can a coach who has failed so many times in the Champions League, and has done so in an incredibly bad fashion, be underrated of all things?
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But yes, I didn’t mix up my words and while it would be easier to build an argument for him being overrated, that’s hardly the case.
It’s difficult to find a coach in the top European leagues who’s as consistent and dominant domestically and yet so hated by his own fanbase as Valverde is.
But dominant? Valverde? Do those two words even go together?
Well, yes, they do and once we delve into the stats a bit more, this will become much clearer.
It took Barcelona 153 days to get back on top of La Liga and if history is any indication, they are bound to stay there.
After all, Valverde is nothing if not a master of dominating the Spanish top-flight with his Blaugrana troops.
Interestingly enough, if we compare him to two former extremely successful Barcelona gaffers in Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique, both treble winners, we see that the Basque coach is not really lagging behind that much.
Keep in mind that the former had the Blaugrana golden generation on his hands while the latter had the illustrious Messi – Suarez – Neymar trio to lead him to glory. Needless to say, both iterations are more than formidable.
But it’s actually Valverde’s ability to dominate his rivals that makes him stand out from the crowd.
Since his appointment a couple of years back, he has tallied a total of 36 points more than Real Madrid, has bagged 40 more goals and won 12 more games than their arch-rivals.
Not only that but he can already boast with two La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey and one Supercup under his belt and has done so in incredible fashion.
Let’s not forget that we are talking about a man who has mustered 205 points in the domestic league so far, winning 62 games, drawing 19 and losing only seven. Seven. In more than two years. Let that sink in.
By all standards, that is an incredibly impressive feat and no amount of fan criticism can disprove it.
So yes, he has his flaws and maybe this Barcelona team is not good enough to succeed in Europe, although we’ll have to wait and see about that, but the man they have in charge is far from incompetent.
And sure, having Messi in your team is a huge cheat-code but for all his brilliance, the Argentine still needs some help in order to do his magic.
Valverde will most likely never be revered as one of the greats at the Camp Nou and quite honestly, that’s a real shame.
Maybe he’s not the ideal coach the Blaugrana faithful are dreaming of but the stamp he’s made on La Liga cannot and should not be ignored.
So here’s to his success.
May his domination of Spain continue this season as well.