Luis Enrique’s large-scale rotations backfire again

The Barça coach's decisioin to shake things up in the starting eleven came back to bite him as he also admitted to a lack of preparation.

Luis Enrique’s large-scale rotations backfire again

Luis Enrique's tinkering backfires

Barcelona’s limpest and lamest perfomance in recent times brought the first upset of the season against Alavés. It was a disaster in which Luis Enrique was undoubtedly not the only one to blame, but given that it was primarily down to the unorthodox eleven he sent out the spotlight will inevitably be shining down on him.

Squad players fail to make their mark

After playing with a more established line-up at San mamés (Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Denis; Arda, Messi and Suárez), the Barça coach clearly underestimated opponents Alavés as he sent out a makeshift eleven that included Cillessen, Mascherano, Aleix, Mathieu, Digne and Alcácer. Barcelona were more of a mock-up that barely shot at goal, lacked aggression and played the kind of football that was devoid of ideas and passion. Even the introduction of the trident couldn’t turn things around.

Similar mistakes at Anoeta

You don’t have to go back too far to recall two of Luis Enrique’s most disputed rotations. Both came at Anoeta. The first came in January 2015 and the decision almost cost him his job. The Barça coach decided to leave Neymar, Dani Alves and Messi on the bench with Madrid just losing to Valencia. The plan backfired horribly and with Munir, Pedro and Montoya in charge of landing three points, Los Culés lost 1-0. For the rest of the season Luis Enrique binned his rotation policy and Barcelona won the treble.

It appeared that the Asturian coach had learnt his lesson but last year, with his side wavering and undergoing slump after defeat in the Clásico, he made the same mistake at Anoeta. Sergi Roberto played at left-back instead of Jordi Alba, Arda replaced Rakitic, Rafinha stood in for Iniesta and Munir for Luis Suárez. History repeated itself as Barça lost, Luis Enrique came in for heavy criticism and his side won the double.