This is not exactly hot off the press but some comments need to be made on Barça B’s relegation to the Segunda B. Most of you will know the 2-5 defeat to Leganes on Sunday confirmed the fate of Jordi Vinyals’ young side but it is difficult to understand how the B team could finish third in the 2013/14 season and then perform so badly this campaign.
There are undoubtedly some very good young players at the club and we have seen promising first team performances from the likes of Sandro Ramirez, Munir El-Haddadi, Adama Traore and Sergi Samper to name just some. Others such as Alex Grimaldo and Alen Halilovic look to have very promising futures, so with such talent why hasn’t the team fared better?
As a young team there will always be problems competing against more experienced and physically stronger teams in the Segunda A and this season the B team was younger than ever. The players have the talent to score goals, totalling 55 in 41 games, more than 15 other teams in the division, but defensively the team has been very fragile, conceding 17 goals more (81 in total) than any other team.
Last summer players with a bit more experience such as Carles Planas, Ilie Sanchez, Sergi Gomez and Denis Sanchez were allowed to leave to be replaced by younger promises like Halilovic, Gumbau, Diagne, Camara and Bicho. The changes left the defence looking more vulnerable though the whole team is responsible in this sense and sometimes the lack of commitment from some players left the defence exposed.
The attitude was questioned by both Eusebio Sacristan and his replacement as coach Jordi Vinyals. It is difficult for players who may be training one week with Leo Messi and Neymar only to return to the B team but it seems neither Eusebio nor Vinyals had the motivational skills to get the best from the players. Things weren’t helped when Eusebio was sacked and although the season was already going badly Eusebio’s statistics of 26 points from 25 games are not nearly as disastrous as the ten points from 16 games under Vinyals.
The problem for next season, besides the FIFA transfer ban, is that some players will find it even harder to get motivated to play in a lower league. Some loan moves will most likely be the solution and perhaps this will prove positive in the long run. In the five years in Segunda A we have seen players such as Martin Montoya, Marc Bartra, Andreu Fontas, Thiago Alcántara and Sergi Roberto promoted to the first team but one might argue that none have been as important to the first team as Pedro or Sergio Busquets who both jumped straight to the first team from the third division. If we consider that a spell at another club did no harm to the development of Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba or Rafinha, the relegation may not be as damaging as it first seems.