Hurting but not defeated was the message from Gerardo Martino going into today’s match against Granada. “It is impossible for a team to be fully over an elimination like that in so little time. You cannot be in top spirits just by magic. Nobody is in the best of moods, but there is no time for lamentations. There is no time for crying about things, although some defeats are very painful. We have to get straight back to thinking about the league. A win against Granada would allow us to move on a bit from the result in the Champions League.” More after the jump.
Back to La Liga action after being unceremoniously thrown out of the Champions League, FC Barcelona take on Granada with only a handful of matches remaining in the season. With the unconvincing performance given out by Gerardo Martino’s men in Europe, questions have been raised to whether the team can keep up with the final dash to the finish line.
What had started out as a promising campaign with theories of how the team will gel over time under Martino’s guidance, and adopt alternative forms of play to take on opposing teams’ defensive tactics, has turned into unpredictable showings that don’t guarantee when they will play at the level they are capable of, and when they will fail.
Barça’s Juvenil A team will be contesting its first UEFA Youth League final ever on Monday, after a narrow win over Schalke. Jordi Vinyals’ boys beat the Germans 1-0 at Nyon’s Colovray Stadium thanks to a 72-minute strike by the usual suspect, Munir El Haddadi, setting up a final meeting with Benfica, who earned an impressive 4-0 win over Real Madrid in the first semi. Read more after the jump.
BARÇA IS GOING TO NEED A DOUBLE TO FORGET ABOUT THIS ONE
MARTINO: “We need a pair of cups…we have to ‘drink’ to forget.”
ZUBI: “Forget what?”
Those heading down to the Mestalla in Valencia to see FC Barcelona take on Real Madrid for the Copa del Rey should be sure to stop by Barça Zone Valencia. From 10 am to 7:30 pm, the club have organized a fan zone for the estimated 20,000 supporters that will make the midweek trip. Set up in Parc dels Tarongers, Barça Zone with have a range of activities on offer. Four bands will be performing live: The Uppshitters (apparently) (2 pm), Itaca Band (3:10 pm), Pirat’s Sound Sistema (4:25 pm) and Dr Calypso (5:45 pm), there will be various activities for children, foosball, mini-arena football, Catalan billiards, video games and of course plenty of food and beverages.
Barça boss Gerardo Martino announced the 18 men who will travel to Granada for Saturday’s La Liga encounter. Centre back Marc Bartra pulled his right hamstring in training this morning and although the injury doesn’t seem too serious, he is being rested this weekend as a precautionary measure. And with Gerard Piqué and Carles Puyol ruled out with injury, the travelling squad does not include a single natural central-defender!
Squad: Pinto, Oier, Montoya, Alves, Adriano, Jordi Alba, Mascherano, Song, Busquets, Sergi Roberto, Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc, Tello, Messi, Alexis, Neymar Jr, Pedro
Dutch legend Johan Cruyff heavily criticised Barça’s board of directors in the wake of the Champions League exit at the hands of Atlético Madrid. He highlighted that the coach should not be blamed because of his limited ability to make decisions. “You can’t fault him [Tata] because he is doing what he can. But it’s really hard to manage a team if no one lets you”. More from the Barça legend after the jump.
Culés all over the world shared their heartbreak after Barça’s Champions League exit on Wednesday. But now it’s behind us, and with six league games to play and a Copa del Rey final, Barça can still turn this season around and make it successful. True culés will remain faithful, but will the team react?
With Barcelona’s Champions League run over, they now have to focus on La Liga. There may be concerns that their European form might carry into their weekend match at Granada, but history suggests otherwise: Barcelona are undefeated in the games immediately following each of their last six CL exits, with five wins and a draw. In fact, the most recent victories were emphatic goalfests, taking out the frustration of Champions League defeats with a total of 21 goals spread over four games. It’s scant solace, but Barça must turn their heads now to the competitions at hand.
totalBarça presents Coach Culé: The Ultimate Prediction Game. Brought to you by Footynews!
This is your chance to prove not only your knowledge about the game of football, but also your Blaugrana insight by cracking the code of Barça’s coaching. It’s time for you to…
Predict FC Barcelona’s Starting Lineup
For upcoming match: Granada vs FC Barcelona
More game and prize details after the jump.
You’ve had your chance to rate the performance of the Blaugrana and the results are now tallied up. Take a look at how the totalBarça community ranked the squad and see how the ratings played out.
Image: Claudio Chaves via mundodeportivo.com
THOSE WHO WON’T STRUT LIKE CHOLOS* 1 – 0 THOSE WHO WON’T WALK ANY MORE
Simeone: “We continue to dream about the Champions League…
…and I bet Tata’s men continue to dream about my wall.”
* To “caminar cholo” means to walk like a hoodlum.
Cartoon by Caye
He was told to not actively participate in the game, and that translated to Lionel Messi running just 6.8 kilometers. That’s 1.5 kilometers more than José Manuel Pinto and just 56% of the amount Atlético’s Koke put in.
April 10, 2014
April 9, 2014