Barcelona played 45 minutes as if there were only five left

Barcelona played 45 minutes as if there were only five left

Xavier Ortuño

Subdirector de SPORT

Just when it looked like Barça had got back on track with some good results, a slip-up against Celta almost wiped out the two good games against Antwerp and Betis. 

Barça were up against a Celta side that shut down at the back and looked for the counter-attack and they found it. Time and time again. In fact Celta dismantled Barça's planned play structure and Rafa Benítez was winning the small tactical battles.

Xavi tried to react to the goal Barca conceded in the 19th minute but failed to do so in the first half, nor did Gavi coming on for de Jong due to injury shore up the midfield. At half-time he changed the team's formation, bringing on Araujo and Lamine Yamal for Marcos Alonso and Oriol Romeu.  

Barça played 45 minutes at full stretch, running, opening up the pitch and taking many, many risks. They even conceded another Celta goal. The change of formation made the game crazy, but it also made the Galician team go berserk.

And after the storm, when it seemed that Barça could not get any more traction, not even by breaking up the midfield with Cancelo's runs, three goals came in eight minutes. It was not the best match in terms of combination play but what the match was was a boost to morale and self-esteem for this team who also showed that they know how to win by running for 45 minutes. 

Xavi took a risk and it worked out well. Perhaps one of the big differences with last season is that the bench that was seen today in Montjuïc is a luxury. Remember that Gavi, Araujo, Lamine Yamal, Balde and Raphinha came on the pitch. That's what having a better squad was for, to turn around games like this that on other occasions would have ended in defeat.

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