Disjointed Barca dependent on magical forward line
11 December 2014, 13:30
Barcelona - Barcelona needed the individual skills of their star-studded forward line to beat Paris St Germain on Wednesday after another disjointed performance and questions continue to be asked over the tactics of coach Luis Enrique.
There were many incredulous faces at the Camp Nou when they saw Barcelona line up for a crunch Champions League clash against PSG for top place in group F with an experimental back three and the decision appeared to confuse the home players more than the opposition.
The visitors lapped up the space in the Barca rearguard with Zlatan Ibrahimovic striking the opener after 15 minutes before Lionel Messi and Neymar, with a stunning drive from distance, hit back before the break.
Barca looked unbalanced with an excess of attacking players in a system that had Neymar and Pedro playing on the wings.
They were reduced to last ditch defending until some order was restored by the introduction of Ivan Rakitic and Xavi, and then Suarez sealed a 3-1 win with his first goal at the Camp Nou.
"They seemed more bothered than us by the lineup," said PSG coach Laurent Blanc.
Luis Enrique hasn't yet fielded the same lineup for two consecutive matches this season as he appears uncertain of his best system, which has led to confusion among the players.
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The Catalan side continue to win games, the PSG victory was their eighth on the trot, but it has been more to do with the quality of their forward line and in particular Messi who went into the game having scored three hat-tricks in four games.
Barca have gone from a dominant midfield passing game under coach Pep Guardiola to one dependent on their forward line.
Luis Enrique though defended his tactics saying that the Barca players are good enough to be able to adapt to different systems and that the result was the key against a difficult rival.
"I chose the lineup for a number of reasons including the suspension of (Jordi) Alba and I thought that they would cause most problems for the opposition," Luis Enrique told a news conference.
"We wanted to create space for our most dangerous players. We are capable of changing our style and being able to do that makes us more difficult to play against as the opposition doesn't know what to expect.
"Was the new system a risk? Well it depends on the result, whatever happens whether it is good or bad depends on the result."