When Real Madrid have important games to play, coach Zinedine Zidane often talks about ‘finals.’
Every game becomes super important for Los Blancos and, by and large, they tend to raise their game every single time.
It’s all about getting the mindset right, and that’s something that Ronald Koeman needs to tap into now at Barcelona.His team have seven ‘finals’ left and if they win them all, they’ll be La Liga champions once more.
It won’t matter what Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid or Sevilla do. Barca win their games, they’re champions.
It really is a ‘win at all costs’ mentality that the team have to adopt now, and even Barca’s famous tiki-taka football can take a back seat if it means that the blaugranes earn the three points from each match.
Against Getafe on Thursday night, Barca played well in the opening 45 and poorly in the second half.
In the end, only a late flurry saw them confirm the win. It was much more uncomfortable than it needed to be.
Had there been fans inside the Camp Nou, it’s a fair bet that the decibel levels would’ve shot up long before Ronald Araujo’s header and Antoine Griezmann’s penalty made the game safe.
No matter, because in the end the three points were earned and it puts Barca in a healthy enough position going into their next must win game against Villarreal.
The Estadio de la Ceramica produced a 4-4 classic not so long ago, when Barca were losing right until the last knockings.
With pace up front and an energetic midfield always on hand to support their strikers, the Yellow Submarine will present a stiff test, but one that, if Barca are on their game, they can pass with flying colours.
Key, as always, to their performance levels is Lionel Messi, with the Argentinian showing of late that there’s life in the old dog yet.
He even passed up the opportunity for a hat-trick against Getafe to allow Antoine Griezmann to get on the score sheet.
Individual records really aren’t for him, the team always come first.
How can his team-mates fail to be inspired by the best of the best always leading by example each and every week?
Ronald Koeman will be hoping that their great form in 2021 can carry them over the line, and if another title is secured by the end of the campaign, there’s every chance it could persuade Messi to stay for another 12 months at least.
Who’d have said that at the start of the season?!