The problem is that once in possession, teams playing against Barça can't decide correctly what to do with the ball.
“The main problem is to overcome the psychic fear that affects the teams that play against Barcelona and attack them. They have to overcome the fear of Barça.” - José Mourinho
This sentence from José Mourinho says it all. There's no reason now, after four complete seasons, to have any fear of Barça. The tremendous reputation that the Barcelona built along these four seasons makes every coach think twice or more when they play against them.
Again, like Mourinho says, the opposing team needs to attack Barcelona. Nothing new about this, right? We all know that for us to score goals we need to attack, unless our opponents are kind enough to score own goals just to please us.
The problem is that once in possession, teams playing against Barça can't decide correctly what to do with the ball. This is half way to lose the ball again due the high pressing applied by Barcelona players. High pressing and pressing in packs is indeed a good defensive strategy but it also opens a lot of spaces in the back. Barcelona, in Pep Guardiola own words is not good in defending.
In the following picture you can see how Xavi and Iniesta leave their opponents free behind them and how Piqué and Abidal are man marking each other’s. Barcelona does not concede more goals only because the lack of quality passing from their opponents.
It is of the essence that we make the most of ball possession whenever we recover it, because Barcelona will always have the ball more than us. When we have the ball in our possession we must pass it around purposefully, but very quickly because Barcelona plays with a very high defensive line that frequently presses inside the opponent’s midfield. The pressing is performed next to the opposition’s goal area on the centre backs and full backs. So, our players must be able to concentrate on maintaining possession straight away, even though they may have been chasing the ball intensively.
Carles Puyol is the weakest link on Barcelona defence. He’s a hard tackler and one that can provide our team with dangerous free kicks near the area. This is something we can explore with one-on-ones.
This article was taken out from my book named Objective Barcelona: How To Beat The Most Powerful Team In The World.