Camp Nou

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Barcelona v Elche

Sunday, 24 August 2014, 16:00

Spanish Primera BBVA

Doom and gloom?

Barcelona's 4-0 loss at the Allianz Arena was their heaviest European defeat in 16 years, and while Graham Hunter cannot see them bouncing back in the return leg at Nou Camp, he does not believe it is all doom and gloom for the Catalans side.

Last Updated: 24/04/13 at 10:05 Post Comment

"I know we are talking about a European thrashing but domestically Barcelona's numbers are better than in Pep Guardiola's treble-winning season," said Hunter on Sky Sports News.

"There is no way that this is a morning of total despair for Catalans football. There is no way that suddenly Lionel Messi is not a particular good player or Xavi is not the best pound-for-pound Spanish player ever.

"Bayern Munich have been rampant domestically while Barcelona have been struggling terribly with injuries. One to 11 Bayern were better all over the pitch, Barcelona did not have the remedies and Tito Vilanova [Barcelona manager] did not react, which was a surprise.

"The beauty of football is that four years ago Pep Guardiola's Barcelona did exactly this to Bayern Munich. They won 4-0 at the Nou Camp and people like Franz Beckenbauer said that it was the most painful night for them in football and that we are going to replicate all the technique, skill, aggression and football arrogance of Barcelona but with German pace and height and power. They have done it.

"If this is a changing of the guard then I am glad it has been done in this style. I think it was a massive, uplifting night for football and the Champions League."

Criticism has also been levelled at Barcelona that they do not function without Messi and Hunter says that is fair comment because they have failed to recruit the right players.

"They have failed to build the team correctly around him," added Hunter.

"Players like Busquets, Iniesta and Xavi have been playing perpetually. It's been a bit like on a hamster wheel for them. They win and go to the end of the season and compete for trophies domestically. Then internationally they have got the European Championships, the World Cup, the Confederation Cup consecutively. That means no summers off; no rest.

"You saw players last night who were fit but who could not keep up with the Germans. That is what the intelligent guys who plan the markets and the buying need to understand: if they are buying substitute players then they need to be of a similar level but younger, fitter, taller and stronger to compliment this concept of the smaller skillful player.

"Barcelona have been buying badly they spend a hundred million euros on Fabregas, Song and Alexis only one of whom played last night. They need to buy better and mimic the fact that Bayern put a premium on players who are big and tall and strong but who can also play.

"Nothing of Barcelona's blueprint need to be ripped up, but they need to do the housekeeping around the central players a lot better."

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