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Barcelona's half-time team talk suggests worrying signs

A goal down to LaLiga's bottom side Leganés, there was anger and a feeling of helplessness from the players, who had been here before.


LaLiga leaders Barcelona headed into the break on Saturday lunchtime a goal down to Leganés, the league's bottom side. It had been a limp first half from the champions, despite much expected from Ernesto Valverde's top heavy line-up that included Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, Ousmane Dembélé and Antoine Griezmann, and the half-time chatter in the dressing room revealed the unrest

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Barcelona's puzzle still confusing

As the Catalan side trotted into the dressing room, they were only too aware that they had not turned up as they should have against a side battling to get away from the relegation zone. All they had to show for it in terms of shots on goal was a glanced header from Suárez that Cuéllar dived to push away. There was a lot of negativity and frustration as they entered the visiting team's private area.

"What are we playing at?" one of the first voices piped up with, a question from one of the team's heavyweights and it echoed across the four walls. The answers arrived thick and fast, with outbursts and regrets from some of his teammates, while others chose to lower their heads, resigning themselves instead into a worrying silence.

That wasn't all. Griezmann, Umtiti and Dembélé got caught up in a heated discussion about what had transpired on the pitch during the opening 45 minutes, the various problems that had hindered them linking up to any effect with each other.

Serious talk | Lionel Messi and his Barcelona teammates at Butarque Stadium.
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Serious talk | Lionel Messi and his Barcelona teammates at Butarque Stadium.Irina R. H. / AFP7 / Europa Pres

Valverde tried to breathe a bit of encouragement into the team, with the help of his assistant Aspiazu, making it very clear that if they went back out and scored a goal, everything would immediately become much easier. They stressed that more intensity was needed in an attempt to suffocate the opponent with a high press.

As the players waited in the dressing room tunnel, Piqué and Suárez took charge of the situation, trying to rally their teammates with shouts of encouragement: “Come on, Come on! Let's play like we know how to."

In the end, with a stroke of fortune, a goal from the Uruguayan and then Arturo Vidal turned the score around, but the negative feelings remained. It was a situation very similar to that against Slavia Prague in the Champions League, where they had won 1-2, but were left worried about the performance, and how the pieces of the puzzle are not all fitting to form the beautiful picture desired.

Valverde and his team have another chance to show that the sum of their individual parts can indeed impress as an overall unit on Wednesday. They have certainly had more success in doing so in the Camp Nou, but Borussia Dortmund are not propping up a league.