Soapbox Suzy: Don’t blame the pitch!

Not their greatest night  (cadenaser.com)

Not their greatest night
(cadenaser.com)

If there is one thing on this planet that I really dislike, it is when players, coaches, or any other club officials whine about surrounding conditions of a football match.

That’s why I got kind of annoyed seeing the press quote a comment Xavi made for the Catalan TV channel TV3 after the match. There he blamed the state of the pitch for the difficulties Barcelona experienced during the first leg of the Supercopa against Atlético.

According to the Barcelona midfielder, the pitch was “really dry,” and that dryness was why Barcelona were not able to move the ball around the way they are used to, and that on the wet pitch of Camp Nou this will be different.

Even though he also mentioned Atlético played well and providing their share of problems for Barca, this leaves a strange feeling that made me want to switch to Cholo Simeone mode and shout to him, “Be a man and show some cojones!!!”

For me, using the excuses of pitch condition, weather, the ball, or even the noise, is lame. Every time I hear a player, coach, or other official whining about the conditions, I ask myself when someone will finally come out and blame the eye-cancer-causing colour combination of the opponents’ shirt for a bad performance, or that nice looking blonde seated in the first row for causing players to lose concentration!

I think it’s poor form to blame others for your own bad performance. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Xavi as a player, and I have a lot of respect for his skills, but his performance in the Supercup match at the Calderón was far from good. I always expected him to be above that type of criticism to use that kind of excuse.

The thing with pitch condition is that both teams have to play on the same one! Okay, if you are the home team and are used to it, you can use it as an advantage, but I don’t think Atlético did that.

I know the Calderón more for being the complete opposite. Instead of being too dry, from the many matches I’ve witnessed from the stands of the Calderón and the many more from in front of the TV, the pitch is usually too wet!

That’s what makes it even harder to understand Xavi’s complaint. I cannot count how many times I have seen our players slip and slide their way through a match. I even began questioning the players’ choice of shoes, and was seriously of a thought that neither Puma, nor Adidas, nor Nike were able to provide our players decent footwear, before I noticed that the reason for the slipping was the wet grass.

In my opinion, the only possibile reason why the pitch might have been dry is a simple, natural one, and not due to infrequent watering of it the way Xavi described.

In Madrid, it has been over 35 degrees for days, and even at the late hour of the Supercopa, it was still hot. So it’s kind of natural that, even if the grass is watered every day, it’s more dry than usual due to outside temperature.

Xavi can’t seriously think someone would believe that he has never seen a dry pitch in a sunny state like Spain. In Barcelona they might always keep their grass wet, but that does not require all the other teams to do the same.

I dare to say that in Spain, the summer temperatures are always like this, and that this, surely, can not be the first time Barca has played in the heat.

And, even if Atlético had purposely provided a dry pitch to gain advantage, there is nothing wrong with it. Barcelona will have their own on the return leg, because their pitch is wet and our players slip. (Remember that 5-0 drubbing in the rain?)

I understand it must be a whole lot easier to blame the conditions of the pitch for not being able to rotate the ball than to admit the great defensive and tactical work of the Rojiblancos –who closed all open spaces and made it impossible for Barcelona to build up their typical game– and give them the credit for having a great night. Much easier to talk it down. But, for me, that is a sign of disrespect.


  • Martin Rosenow

    You go girl! I always find it so pathetic when Barcelona players complain about this.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Barca players (with their team and with “La Roja”) have criticized the pitches of Calderon, Bernabeu, Stade de France, Olimpico, and Wembley !!

    I wonder what would they do if they ever played in Africa ?!

    just last week, Al-Ahly were playing at CAF Champions League in Congo against Léopards de Dolisie, and the grass was only covering less than half of the pitch area

    stop whining about the pitches .. bitches !

  • Ursa Major

    Of course we didn’t water our pitch. Just like Barca, deliberately, sprinkle their pitch before each game. It’s the home team’s choice whether they want to do this or not. So yeah, get a grip, Xavi!

    To think I used to respect you.. Oh well.
    (koke is closing in on his spot!)

  • LSS

    Barca is supposed to be the best team in the world. Shouldn’t they be good enough to play on any pitch then? 😀

    And if not then there’s only one advice: practice.

  • Will

    Funny but they really think the pitch has to be with a short height grass and watered (sponsored by FIFA) despite they learning to play on every kind of pitch.

    Every single match of World Cup will have grass watered in the half time just like it did in Confederations Cup.

  • Sebyk

    Very good article, Barca players are only more and more pathetic. I admired and respected the team around Ronaldinho, can’t do the same with the one now…

    ad Xavi 🙂
    https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/1185451_10151626927574053_337900573_n.jpg

    Btw, did everyone see what Alba did?
    http://i.minus.com/iUAgR2cxzA96H.gif
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-qqCv5GVR-l0/UhYjZsRZiKI/AAAAAAAALxY/ALKU0wENHX8/s1600/ALBA3.gif
    Man, this is so poor and pathetic I can’t find words for it. RFEF should hand him a severe ban and fine him, otherwise this dirty stuff will never disappear…

  • EC

    Iam 50/50 about this tbh. I agree it should be the home teams choice and not watering the pitch is fine. But I also hate how teams are using non footballing tactics to hamper barcelona like Bayern did (not saying they didn’t easily deserve to win). But drenching the centre of the pitch so as the ball could barely move was out of order IMO.

  • kris

    Divi is a p*sy,, everytime they get beaten or outplayed by his opponents,, he blames the pitch or finds excuses…. Remember,, when they lost to Milan??

    EC,, what are you talking about?? Non-footballing tactic by Jupp Heynckes and Bayern?? If you are trying to say rape,, then I agree with you.. ahha..

  • kris

    Oh,, wait,, or was it sarcasm?? *confused…..

  • Andres (Lolaya)

    And Barcelona complain about the pitch again! I lost count!

    Notice how they only complain when they lose by “surprise”.
    It is really bad sportsmanship and I have heard Guardiola complain, Xavi complain, Iniesta complain… I can probably name the whole team. I bet you even Valdes has complained.

  • kris

    LOL true Andres…

  • Kulan

    Loads of transfer gossip; Alderweireld, Eriksen, Guilavogui, Toulalan(!?) in with at least a formal bid for Alderweireld and Adrian, Demi and even Juanfran out. The circus continues..

  • Alderweireld to come if Demichelis leaves, apparently, would explain the asking price of 5 million for the Argentine.
    He would be kind of okay, I guess, has CL experience and knows how to kick the ball, good back-up for Miranda, no first XI material (yet), I think.
    Could play RB, too, and he knows Courtois well.

  • Although Manquillo should stay at least second RB.

  • Vlad

    I think that the Jordi Alba show (after Costa touched his hair) is the true face of Barca..

    Just a bunch of crybabies

  • EC

    No it wasn’t sarcasm. Bayern Munich in the first leg soaked the middle of the pitch, re-watch the game if u like. The ball couldn’t move well at all. IMO that’s very unsporting. The pitch should just be left as it usually is.

  • I agree with you, EC.

    Looks like football is more about tricks (which some call tactics or strategy) than actual football.
    You kind of have an urge to like it if your favourite team’s members use the “tactics” (like Gabi or Godin), but when I think about it, it disgusts me.
    Especially if we’re resorting to “but we may, because they have money”.
    Of course they have more money, people in Asia and North America wear Real and Barca shirts, of course they’re way more attractive to use for revenue.
    It’s an entertainment business, after all, and business ain’t about justice.
    I wish it were a sports game, though, but it hasn’t been for 30 years, at least.

  • kris

    I absolutely hate seeing players dive in the pitch,, but that’s how it seems that the game goes,, And,, umm,, Bayern absolutely thrashed Barcelona,, so there is no excuse about that at all.. Even at their own home,, they beat Barcelona 3-0,, so 4-0 at the Allianz Arena seemed like a legit result to me… Or did… Barcelona soak their own pitch as well?? Their effin back passes are annoying just like their players..

  • palc

    Barca like them pitches wet like them bitches.

  • I’m sad that it’s just accepted like that.

    PS, some great words by my homie palc

  • EC

    @Kris.
    i know bayern hammered them and i said bayern fully deserved to win. I am just highlighting what they done to gain an advantage and even though Iam not a barca fan i dont like it and would be angry if someone done that to us.

    oh that team like to pass the ball a lot in the middle of the park. I know, we will soak the middle of the pitch like its been hammering down with rain so the ball can barely move and leave the other parts of the pitch alone. not right imo

  • kris

    You may be correct,,, but you do know that Barca are the same kind of putas,, right?? Without a doubt,, they’d do that to a superior team.. Look at the way they dive… Did you see when they were diving in that friendly against some Danish club(I think it was Danish)..

  • EC

    I also agree that Barcelona use dirty tactics aswell as a lot of other teams which isn’t right either. Diving, asking the ref to book players etc.

    I’d imagine some people would say the same thing about us. Diego costa’s antics especially

  • LosColchonero

    I think this article is pointless – last thing I care about is other teams (and their fans) respecting Atleti. I do not support Atleti for others’ respect.

  • That they do it too, doesn’t make it right or even a little better than what it is without them doing it.
    Sorry, it’s just a lazy excuse.

    If they practice dirty tricks it means they should better themselves, as well, not that everything’s fine, all of a sudden.

  • Exactly, we’re supposedly Atletico fans and supporters, not Real/Barca-haters.
    An extra job… that’d be way too tiring 😉

  • kris

    *End thread* ahha,, seriously,, though, I could care less about Barcelona….. It was just brought up here and I love to argue… My bad for being off topic in the comments section..