Barcelona flops are "playing like Stoke City" fumes Spanish press

Pressure is growing on Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman with fans and players becoming increasingly frustrated with the Dutchman's lack of identity.

The Spanish press are even labelling the side like "Stoke City" for their direct style of football.

The La Liga giants drew 1-1 against Granada at a half-full Camp Nou on Monday evening with only a last-minute equaliser from Ronald Araujo saving Koeman from a first league defeat of the season.

That though cannot be regarded as a triumph. In their previous away trip, Granada were battered 4-0 by Rayo Vallecano, a side who finished sixth in the Segunda Division last season and were promoted via the play-offs.

It's not just the disappointing results that are of growing concern, performances have been heavily criticised.

Pioneers of possession-based football, Barcelona's dominance of the ball is of critical importance to any supporter, player, or coach.

Yet under Koeman, the neat, fast-paced, one-touch football has been forgotten. Barcelona played 45 crosses from open play into the box during Monday night's draw – more than any other team in Europe's top five leagues this season.

This direct methodology has been condemned by the Spanish press who believe the identity of the Catalan club has been lost:

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“The style is very bad, it is one of the worst Barcas I’ve seen in decades,” said AS columnist Santiago Segurola afterwards on radio station Onda Cero.

“You can have better or worse players, but you cannot be Stoke City, a primitive team, and throw away your legacy. Coutinho was there, Busquets, Sergi Roberto.

"The problem is that people are fed up with the debates. The distress is enormous and there are no cracks of light.”.

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Koeman's argument has remained that Barcelona simply do not have the personnel to play the brand of football that has become synonymous with the club.

Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele remain side-lined whilst star man Lionel Messi was forced to exit the club due to their ever-depleting financial situation.

Yet with Stoke City currently sitting pretty at fifth-place in the Championship whilst Barcelona languish in eighth in La Liga, maybe Ronald Koeman's side could do with being more like the Potters.

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