Barcelona fell to Villarreal to end their season with a whimper
With little at stake, Barcelona put a bow on a poor season by losing 2-0 to Villarreal at the Camp Nou.
Alfonso Pedraza and Moi Gomez were the goal scorers for Villarreal as they took advantage of an unorganized Barcelona defense and a gift from Adama Traore.
The result meant Villarreal qualified for European football, beating out Athletic Bilbao in the process.
As for Barcelona, it was an apt reminder of how much work remains for the Catalan side. It was also perhaps the final game for a significant amount of players.
In order to compete next season, plenty of things need to change. A sentiment echoed by Xavi Hernandez in his post match press conference.
"“We have to change many, many things. There is office work that is more important than football. Football is over, the competition is over, and I think we have saved a season that could have been catastrophic,” he said.“The diagnosis is made and things have to be changed. We cannot hide reality. This has to change. And they tell us that it is possible.“We have to reinforce ourselves very well. If not, we can’t compete. Jordi and Mateu tell me yes, we can do it. We think so.”Source: Barca Blaugranes"
The “revolution” at Barcelona reportedly began prior to the final game as Xavi informed Samuel Umtiti, Riqui Puig, Martin Braithwaite and Oscar Mingueza that he does not count on them for next season.
Talks with more players are expected to happen soon.
Despite crashing out of the Champions League, Europa League, Copa del Rey and finishing well behind Real Madrid in LaLiga, there is room for optimism.
There was considerable improvement once Xavi took over from Ronald Koeman with the high point being the 4-0 win against Real Madrid. But the team then struggled following that match.
It was a sign that more work is left to be done to get Barcelona back to the level they are accustomed to.
That means a number of signings and the Catalans expect to be busy this offseason. They remain in a precarious financial position which means they need to sell a number of players. It’s something they are prepared to do as well as ensure they back their manager.
All things considered, finishing in second place in the first league post-Lionel Messi isn’t the worst thing in the world. However, it is nowhere near good enough for a club the size of Barcelona. Therefore, this offseason is going to be one of the most important ones in recent history.