FC Barcelona is a side that is modeled to win and do so while playing with style. The Catalan giants have been bestowed with some of the most recognizable footballing philosophies in the world. However, that version of Barcelona has been nowhere to be seen in recent games.
Just recently, Barcelona were outclassed in both of their latest games. Against Real Sociedad at the Reale Arena and against Shakhtar Donetsk in Hamburg, Barcelona struggled. Moreover, while they managed to scrape together a win in San Sebastián, they were not that lucky in the Champions League.
An expert opinion
According to Xavi Hernandez, the primary fault within the team at the moment is a mental block. The problem, as per the Barcelona coach, has more to do with confidence rather than player quality. Now, as per the latest findings of SPORT, that is agreed to be the reason.
Having consulted a Sports Psychologist, Jaume Marti, SPORT has assessed the specialist’s stance on the matter. A capable individual in his own profession, he possesses a great number of things on his resume to back it up.
The professional’s qualifications
Possessing a Master’s Degree in Sports Psychology, as well as being a member of the Official College of Psychologists of Catalonia, alongside being vice president of the ACPE and treasurer of the Spanish Federation of Sports Psychology, Marti has enough experience to know what he is talking about.
Agreement with Xavi and elaboration
According to the specialist, the problem that Xavi himself highlights is exactly what the actual issue is. In his words:
“If he says it, I believe it. And the proof is that this team has played well; we’ve seen good games with these players.”
He further elaborates that Barcelona are perhaps playing with too much pressure. Moreover, coupled with the fact that they have young players, the tension can begin to impact the team in detrimental ways:
“Barça has the obligation to win and play well always. Moreover, now they have the added pressure of needing to win because the club’s finances are at stake, and they can’t afford to fall in the Champions League due to the money involved.”
“If you have experience, you handle it better, but if you’re young or not used to this, all this pressure can get to you, and doubts and fears can creep in. And then it can happen that no one wants to take risks to avoid being singled out.”
Comparison with Girona
He also highlighted the main difference between the high-flying leaders of La Liga, Girona, and the rather demotivated Barcelona:
“The difference is that Girona doesn’t score goals out of obligation; they do it out of enthusiasm. At Barcelona, goals have to be scored out of obligation. The focus is on the result, not the game. There’s excessive tension.”
Moving forward, Marti suggests that the first step must come against Alaves. This hungry Barcelona side needs to forget about the money involved, the consequences of winning or losing, and just focus on playing and enjoying their own brand of football:
“They should forget the past. Defeats no longer exist. Let them play a good game and regain their fluidity, without overthinking.”
Barcelona are set to welcome Deportivo Alaves to the Montjuic Stadium on Sunday. Set to be their 13th Matchday of La Liga, Barça will want to get a strong performance in before the international break.