FC Barcelona have become the biggest team to NOT have a manager in place during the 2019-20 season. Everybody thought Zinedine Zidane was close to leave Real Madrid but instead, Los Cules have dismissed Ernesto Valverde.

And really, no one could say anything about Los Blaugranas’ decision. The team’s start to the 2019/20 season was really poor, and it seemed as if Barca had lost track of where they were going and where they needed to be in order to become a contender.

What were the reasons behind Valverde’s exit?

Let’s start by looking at the team’s performance in league play. Valverde won La Liga title in each of his two years as Barca’s manager, but he didn’t do much aside from that. He lost the Copa del Rey final last season, couldn’t reach the UEFA Champions League Final in his two years at the helm, and was largely disappointing when it mattered the most.

His Champions League exits were one of the biggest reasons why Valverde just couldn’t hold on at Barcelona anymore. Disappointing defeats against AS Roma and Liverpool – both after going up by three goals in the first leg – showed he just didn’t have the pedigree needed to manage Barca at crunch time.

Plus, it seemed as if Valverde had lost the team. There was a reported meeting at the end of last season to analyse the manager’s future following the loss during the Copa del Rey final, but the Board decided to hold on to him. In fact, Barca brought players such as Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann to further strengthen the side. But the results weren’t there to start the new campaign.

A terrible start to the season was the nail in the coffin

Los Blaugranas had registered just two wins in their first five Liga matches (W2, D1, L2). They were also winless on the road following their first three away outings (D1, L2), including losses against teams such as Granada and Athletic Bilbao.

Defensively they were a problem as well. Barca have conceded at least two goals in each of their last four league outings, and are yet to keep a clean sheet in La Liga. Their lone shutout this season was the scoreless draw against Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League. But let’s be honest. Los Blaugranas should’ve lost that game. Marc-André ter Stegen was the lone reason why they came out with a point out of that fixture.

If we add all these things into the mix, then it’s crystal clear. Valverde couldn’t be held at Barcelona any longer. The team wasn’t playing the way he wanted to, and things were not working out anymore. It’s better to remove him now, rather than doing it when there’s no time to left to save what has been an underwhelming start to the 2019/20 season.