Euroleague: Barcelona’s change of plan | Sports

It was a want and I can’t. Barcelona was crowned for a good part of last season as the best to finish it as a second best. In the regular phase of the Endesa League and the Euroleague they took the lead, but fell in the ACB final against Madrid (3-1) and in the semifinals of the European Final Four, again against the white team . “The minimum that was expected was not given. Beyond the results, the idea of ​​consistency or the team that was wanted was not offered. Something wasn’t working,” says a Barcelona source. And a new plan was drawn up that begins to be tested from today (8:00 p.m., Dazn) in the Euroleague quarterfinals against Zalgiris.

At the end of the previous year, the Barça vice-president and head of the basketball area, Josep Cubells, met with the section manager, Juan Carlos Navarro, with the sports director, Mario Bruno, and with the coach, Sarunas Jasikevicius. Quite a few hours around the table, concern for sports and economics, since the squad had to be reconfigured and salaries cut — the salary mass is about 36 million.

The first thing that was determined is that the team had to change the preparation and redefine the objectives. “What was transferred to the group is that you had to recover your punch and identity at important moments,” they warn from the corridors of the sports city; “That the road wasn’t as important as the last month, as long as you finished in the top four, which is what guarantees you fight for the titles.” In the same way, it was also argued that the peak of form should occur in the epilogue of the season. “We have worked more or less as always, but for some time now, in the few weeks that we have played a single game, the team has done more physical sessions,” they explain from the locker room. Like when Barça lost in the Cup quarterfinals in March, when he did two days of double work just physically. “We’re ok. Pity the last injuries [Abrines, Higgins y Vesely se marcharon al camerino en el pasado encuentro liguero ante el Madrid, que sirvió para que los azulgrana tomaran el liderato]but the team reaches the final stage in good shape ”, they confirm from the club.

The other decision that was made was to make a renovation in the dressing room, discard players who had not given the stature at key moments. The most blatant, in the coach’s eyes, was bandleader Calathes, who had a salary of almost two million. Important players such as Hayes, Brandon Davies and Exum were also banished, as well as rotation profiles such as Pierre Orriola. “We force ourselves to sign character and experience, players who grow in important moments and who have carried the weight of their teams on their backs,” says a Barça source.

Like Vesely, who was the reference for Fenerbahçe; like Kalinic, who led the Red Star; or like Satoransky, who was returning from the NBA to take the reins. “But they also wanted to have a larger squad to be able to rotate and give breaks, so that everyone felt important to a greater or lesser extent by the time the last games came,” they expand from the club. So Da Silva (Alba Berlin), Tobey (Valencia) and Paulí (Andorra) arrived to make costumes.

“The roles are well defined, they are second-rate players who add, help and improve the group harmony. In this, Mirotic is essential, who cares about everyone, and also those at home because they transmit what we are ”, add the same sources. It happens that there are not so many homegrown players and that worries about economics, identity and values, as well as the sense of belonging. That is why they trust that Caicedo will return from his loan to Granada next year. But for that it takes a lot. So much so that they don’t know if the new plan that was hatched in the summer will work, with the goal of winning the League and storming Europe. For that they will have to discount Zalgiris Kaunas from today.

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