If there is no unexpected miracle, this Wednesday will be the last Barcelona derby in the League at least until the 2021-2022 season. A point and a part that will be sealed in an empty Camp Nou in July, without a photo of the coaches’ brotherhood in the previous one – Francisco Rufete cited agenda problems – and after a simply insufficient season for Espanyol. If the white-and-blue team loses or draws against its eternal rival, it will mathematically confirm, three days before the end of the competition, a descent with shared responsibility on the bench –David Gallego, Pablo Machín, Abelardo and now Rufete– which has also not prevented the millionaire (and desperate) investment of Chen Yansheng in the winter market, when he authorized to spend 40 million euros on Raúl de Tomás, Adri Embarba and Leandro Cabrera. When everything is over, there will still be failure to pair in Cornellà-El Prat.
So deep is the bewilderment with matches every three days, and so tiny are the hopes, that almost the only good news for Espanyol is that he will not have to endure the mockery that, under normal conditions, he would have dedicated a part of Barça fans in these circumstances. Because if there is no victory, the descent will come in silence, only with cameras and vests swarming on the edges of the field of play, without cries of “A Segona” or the painful signs of rivalry of those Catalans who feel the same aversion for the neighboring team as for Real Madrid and they will celebrate the fall of Rufete’s team almost like a title they have been waiting for for 27 years. Aware of the weather, Barça coach Quique Setién lowers his morbidity and rejects the executioner label. “If Espanyol leaves, it will not be for us, but it will be a consequence of what has happened throughout the season,” he argued at a press conference yesterday.
The Barça coach did not go badly, because in the first leg a goal from Wu Lei meant a draw that, months later, his team still regrets if they look at the classification. Those two points lost, a symptom of poor performance outside the Camp Nou, help to understand why the League is one step away from entering the Real Madrid trophy room. The whites have won everything in the resumption of the competition, not without controversy, and on top of that they do not have a very demanding schedule to fail twice. However, Setión pulls off a cliché and tries to focus on what only he can control: “We have to think about winning every game and leaving a good image. And if it can’t be in this competition, that at least we serve for the next [la Champions de butxaca prevista per a l’agost]”.
Despite the few options for the league, Barça reached the derby with another face after signing the best match of the Setión era in Villarreal. This fact, added to the praise for his work that Bartomeu did yesterday in two interviews on RAC1 and Catalunya Ràdio, led the Santander to get a little out of his chest with the game of his team regardless of the results, which have not been the best . He even used a bitter tone with the press, with which he has not yet met in person after the confinement. “We’ve done a lot of good things. I stress that because I know you guys [els periodistes] only the result is worth it, which is what counts in this circus, but you won’t convince me to say that the team has been bad “, he said, dissatisfied with the criticism after the draws against Sevilla, Celta and Atlético de Madrid, three results that, on the other hand, have allowed Madrid to regain the lead.
In the face of the match against Espanyol, Setión will continue to be unable to count on Umtiti, De Jong and Júnior due to injury, but he is confident of maintaining the good performance shown by Messi, Suárez and Griezmann in the last match thanks to system 4 -3-1-2 that places the Argentine behind two references and gives the bands to the rises of the lateral ones. Thus, beyond some rotation to not burden the legs of a footballer, everything indicates that the Barça coach will keep the Vila-real plan in the derby with the intention of continuing to feed his credit until the return of the Champions and who knows if waiting for two mistakes from Madrid in four days.
“We have a minimal chance, a minimum, but we have to defend this shield until the end. We have to finish as the club, its history and the fans deserve. It’s one of the saddest moments, but we will fight and then we will have time. to speak. Now we have to fight for the shield and for our hobby. We have to paddle a lot and get up, “Rufete said.