Getty Images/Pictured: Robert Lewandowski
– If it weren’t for his name, he wouldn’t be there anymore – Eleven Sports’ La Liga expert Piotr Orbán has no doubts about the Barcelona coach’s situation. He also comments on the confusion over the club’s decision regarding Robert Lewandowski.
Although Robert Lewandowski scored his eighth goal of the season in the Spanish League last Sunday, he could not rely on praise again after the match against Girona. At the end of the match against Girona, the Polish representative had a great opportunity to equalize 3-3, but he missed it badly.
The Pride of Catalonia eventually lost 2:4 (1:2) and was very far from defending the title of Spanish champion. They are already seven points behind leaders Girona in the table. After two good matches against Porto (2-1) and Atletico Madrid (1-0), the atmosphere calmed down in Catalonia, but Sunday’s defeat once again sparked discussions about Lewandowski and coach Xavi Hernandez.
Piotr Orbán, former footballer of the youth team of Osasuna Pamplona, and currently expert at Eleven Sports, does not side with the people who predict the end of the Polish striker. – I have the impression that Robert Lewandowski has been looking better physically lately – he says in an interview with WP SportoweFakty. – Of course he is no longer a German League player and will never be again. But he must be evaluated through one perspective, which is the goals he scores. He has to do the job in the penalty area.
Unfortunately, according to statistics, Lewandowski is the one who wastes chances the most among all the strikers in the Spanish League, and criticism is normal. I can see he is very nervous. It happens to attackers that they want to hack so often that they get banned and then it becomes more difficult for them – he says.
“He needs a big game.”
According to the expert, the wonderful moment to break the “Lewy” mentality was the last match against Atletico, in which the Pole had three excellent chances. However, he was unable to convert any of them into a goal. – I think he will continue to score goals for Barcelona. However, he needs one big game. Not against a competitor like Deportivo Alaves, but at Champions League level. This could have already happened with Atletico Madrid.
On Monday, news emerged that our striker was not in the Blaugrana squad for the Champions League match against Royal Antwerp. However, it was announced on Tuesday that Lewandowski would travel to Belgium, just like Roland Araujo and Ilkay Gundogan, who were previously omitted. The official reason for the change of heart? The team will remain in Antwerp until Thursday and will have the opportunity to train with the team.
However, Spanish journalists believe that club president, Joan Laporta, is behind everything. He wants Barcelona to take the Champions League sixth round match seriously and earn money for the win, i.e. 2.5 million euros (More here).
Orbán was not surprised by such reports from Catalonia.
– This was my thinking at first. Officially, the change was made for logistical reasons and that they would only have one training session in Barcelona. Well, we can buy it. But if it were as journalists write, I wouldn’t be surprised. I’ll even bet on it.
For several weeks, there has been an attempt in Catalonia to force Lewandowski out of the club. There are many statements regarding his departure from Barcelona, and there are even reports that the club is intent on selling him (More here). The importance of its profits increases with the length of the contract period.
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We’ve already seen similar media moves in Catalonia with the situation of Frenkie de Jong, who the cash-strapped club wanted to get rid of. At that time, the main topic for journalists was the Dutchman’s earnings and pointing out his poor play.
– It’s starting to look like this. However, I don’t see any chance of Robert Lewandowski leaving Barcelona in the winter transfer window. The club needs him, he is still the team’s top scorer, and relying on Victor Roque, who is 20 years old and has not yet played in Europe, would be a big risk. But if there are not too many changes by the end of the season, Catalonia will have no problems leaving him, says our interviewer.
Devastating conclusions about the Barcelona coach
We also ask the Spanish football expert whether Xavi Hernandez should continue in his position as Barcelona coach.
Orban: – Xavi will be the coach because he advanced from the group in the Champions League, and this was an essential task. But should it remain that way? I’m not sure. For the president, the big protective umbrella is that Xavi is…Xavi. Catalan, club legend, you can’t buy that. But the truth is that I haven’t seen any progress in this team for several months. In addition, with each passing month, many players look not only better, but worse.
The former Osasuna-Pamplona youth team player does not see the effects of Xavi’s work and does not like his statements.
– I watch Xavi’s conferences before and after the match and I see that he simply gets lost and gives contradictory messages to the players’ words. Firstly, he says the team seems mentally weak. The players, in turn, answer in the negative. Then the coach turns the situation around and claims that it was the media pressure that affected him. What do players say? They say this is not true.
– What was amazing to me was what he said after the match against Girona, that the team is under construction. It’s like access to a lifeline. After all, the club spent €250 million on new players! Michel, Girona’s coach, took over as coach of the team only three months before taking charge. He had about the same amount of time. First he was promoted to La Liga, and today he outperforms Xavi on the pitch – he says.
“If it weren’t for that, he wouldn’t be here anymore.”
For some time, critics of the current Bayern coach have been arguing that he does not develop players. What does urban say?
Marc-Andre ter Stegen is definitely back in form, although Xavi could have had less of an impact on him. Ronald Araujo is still developing, Andreas Christensen has made progress, and so has Javi. But there are not many such names. There are many people who look good at the start of working with Xavi, and then become worse. What worries me most is the lack of development.
After the defeat to Girona, statistics emerged showing that Xavi Hernandez has a worse match winning percentage on Barcelona’s bench than… Quique Setien, and not much better than Ronald Koeman. After all, the coaches were criticized for the work they did at the club, even though they didn’t have a better team.
– He has a really great team! This is a team that must fight to win the Champions League. These are no longer young and inexperienced players. Even Pedri and Javi are not teenagers. You have several players in top form who should be in demand right now. He concluded his speech by saying: If it were not for Xavi, he would not be in Barcelona anymore.
Tomasz Skrzybczynski, WP SportoweFakty
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