Barcelona’s Champions League humbling by Bayern Munich on Wednesday will not prompt wholesale changes to the squad and the 7-0 aggregate reverse would have been avoided had the team not been decimated by injury,coach Tito Vilanova said.
Barca suffered their worst ever European defeat over two legs in the last-four clash against the German champions but were missing their Argentine World Player of the Year Lionel Messi for the 3-0 second leg defeat at the Nou Camp.
Top scorer in Europe’s elite club competition the past four seasons,Messi had not recovered sufficiently after straining a hamstring last month and had to watch from the bench as Bayern ended Barca’s 21-match unbeaten run at home in continental competition. Pre-tournament favourites Barca were also without defensive midfielder Sergio Busquets and longer-term injury casualties Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano,who play in central defence.
I don’t think we need to change any players, a subdued Vilanova told a news conference. What we do need is to get our injured players back because they are top performers, he added.
Bayern Munich came here with all their players available but we are here without some of our key players. I still think our squad is very good. I am convinced that if we had been at 100 percent we would have competed in a different way.
Messi picked up his injury in last month’s quarter-final first leg at Paris St Germain. Vilanova said Messi had felt a strange sensation towards the end of the Bilbao game,when he came on as a substitute with half an hour remaining and scored one of Barca’s goals.
The forwards Barca did use on Wednesday Spain trio Cesc Fabregas,David Villa and Pedro had little joy against an excellent Bayern defence and it is hard not to conclude that the club needs to sign at least one more goal scorer. Another option is to promote a youngster from the B team and 19-year-old Gerard Deulofeu is being touted as a hot prospect.
Their defence is almost certain to need reinforcements with Puyol,35,getting on,the less-than-convincing Mascherano originally a midfielder and youngster Marc Bartra looking green.
I think we need to take some decisions at an individual level and take a step forward,all of us, centre back Gerard Pique told reporters. Get better and realise that there is somebody else who is superior. As easy as that, he added. We will try and work on it on next year.