It’s a 24/7 job being Barcelona coach, and the pressure to get it right is very evident on the faces of the last few people in the position.
Pep Guardiola had a full head of hair when he began in 2008 and was bald by the time he left in 2012, and both Luis Enrique and Ernesto Valverde have gone from dark to grey hair in the time they’ve spent in the hot-seat.
The latter’s comments about the role are interesting too.“You go from rock bottom on Monday to heaven on Friday,” he said at a recent press conference.
That neatly encompasses just how quickly things can change at the Camp Nou.
Certainly, the supporters will never forgive him for the losses against Roma in his first season and Liverpool in his second, however, they shouldn’t forget just how dominant the blaugrana have been domestically.
To date, he’s lost only five league games in three seasons. Whatever the whys and wherefores about his style of play, there’s no arguing with those stats.
Moreover, with three wins in succession in La Liga, four in total if you count the superb comeback victory over Inter Milan in the Champions League, it’s worth posing the question as to whether he’s managed to turn the corner.
Public opinion may never sway, but there’s a reason to believe that the poor form of earlier in the campaign may be over.
With Lionel Messi back in the groove, Barca have looked a different proposition entirely. The argument that the club are dependant on him is a little old hat now. Why wouldn’t they depend on their best player?!
Every other club in Europe do the same ie play to their strengths.
As other players also come back from injury, thereby giving Valverde a full complement of staff, the blaugrana can once again start to look forward.
Should the status quo remain the same for the rest of October, Barca will still have the hope of overhauling Real Madrid after El Clasico.
Three points in that game would see them top the table and ending the month at the summit of La Liga and top of their Champions League group would be a huge positive for Valverde and the team.
It might also stop the whispering campaign that’s beginning to develop against him once more, and allow him to get on with the rest of the season in peace.