With Barcelona manager Luis Enrique, out of contract in the summer, the chance of a new deal and a potential fourth year in charge of the Catalan club is in serious jeopardy.
Many fans have scrutinised the Spaniard’s tactics following Barcelona’s 4-0 Champion’s League loss against PSG at the Parc De Prince.
At the first time of asking, Enrique’s Barcelona managed to win the competition in 2015, knocking PSG out in the quarter finals.
It was an impressive first season in charge, which saw Enrique breaking Barcelona’s record transfer with the signing of Liverpool’s Luis Suarez for a fee of £65 million.
But what did he do differently that season to give himself such great success?
Enrique has spent £147 million on transfers, since their Champions’ League success in 2015, signing the likes of Turkish midfielder Arda Turan from Atletico Madrid, French defender Samuel Umtiti from Olympique Lyon and the duo of Andre Gomes and Paco Alcacer from Valencia.
Barca have clearly had two lacklustre transfer windows under the care of Enrique, however have still spent a substantial amount which could have been invested better. The lack of marquee signings has taken a toll on Barcelona’s team which has made their performances suffer.
From the starting line-up, which Enrique fielded against PSG back in 2015, the Spaniard only made three changes compared to the line-up which started this week.
He brought summer signings Umtiti and Gomes into the Catalans’ side, as well as make shift right back Sergi Roberto. By also employing the same 4-3-3 system, Enrique has made it easy for teams to break down his side due to the repetition of his formation.
Known for their ‘tiki-taka’ passing style of play, Barca completed 509 passes against PSG on Tuesday, which is nearly 200 fewer than what was achieved back in 2015 where they beat PSG 3-1. They only managed 57% possession compared to the 66% in 2015, displaying how easier it was for PSG to break down their slow tempo and hit Enrique’s side on the counter attack.
Goals haven’t been an issue for Enrique’s men, scoring 61 in La Liga and 20 in the Champions’ League. Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez have scored 59% of Barcelona’s goals this season. This puts a huge burden onto these individuals, which was clearly exploited against PSG, as the two starlets were bullied out of the game, not even managing a shot on target between them.
This indicates how Enrique fails to have a ‘plan B’ within his tactics, with Paco Alcacer being the only firepower available on his bench – even so, he has only managed one goal halfway through his first season at the Nou Camp.
With no club in the history of the Champions’ League to ever progress through to the next stage following a 4-0 deficit, it isn’t looking bright for the Barcelona boss as an early exit from Europe for Enrique is on the cards. Enrique may take full responsibility for the humiliating display but he’s going to have to make some major changes to fight for his job.