Barcelona have enjoyed a really tasty sandwich this last week: The bread formed by their staple wins in La Liga over Deportivo La Coruna and Rayo Vallecano; the filling by their extra special Champions League hammering of AC Milan.
Without that sandwich, panic stations, which were already setting in, would have been blown into full-scale danger warnings.
Thankfully for Tito Vilanova's assistant, Jordi Roura—who has been keeping the shop open—that didn't happen, but he still won't be completely satisfied with his enforced tenure as No.1 at Camp Nou.
There is, of course, an uneasiness in criticizing him too much, though—this is a man thrust from nowhere into the position of managing one of the world's biggest clubs, and not through choice, but through wanting to help his colleague who was fighting illness.
But that is exactly what has happened in the wake of some disappointing results in recent weeks.
Even the comments from within Camp Nou have moved from not missing Tito, which there was never any shame in admitting, to missing him greatly following defeats against AC Milan and Real Madrid.
"The team has gone for many days without a leader, this has seen the freshness dip," said President Sandro Rossell, while Sergio Busquets said Vilanova's absence is felt and day by day and is increasingly hard to cope with
Even Michael Cox, editor of the tactics site Zonal-Marking, as politely as possible, suggested that Roura doesn't have the know-how for the job when he wrote that "Barcelona are missing Tito Vilanova and his tactical ability, particularly his ability to change matches in-play, which was apparent even in Guardiola’s reign."
Before the three big defeats in four games, Roura's reign was already filled with off-hand comments about how Barca would struggle with him, even victories didn't feel that good—notably the 2-1 comeback win away to Granada.
The 45-year-old has simply found himself in a job that is too big for him, as argued by journalist Ben Hayward on Goal.com.
In 2007 he was sacked as manager of third division side L'Hospitalet, the club later went on to be relegated, and he didn't venture back into management.
In 2009, Josep Guardiola brought him in as part of his team and his role was to analyse upcoming opponents before, in 2012, Tito Vilanova chose him as the man to become his No.2—we know the rest.
Roura, it is said, didn't particularly want to be elevated to top dog in the dressing room, but he was happy to do it to help his friend out.
Unfortunately, when a club has such high expectations, the finger-pointing starts if results don't go the right way. And, indirectly and as nicely as possible, comments passed by players, journalists and fans have hinted at the gap left by Vilanova.
Roura will probably have enjoyed his time working with a group of such talented players, but it is unlikely whether he will have enjoyed his time in the limelight.
The win against Milan last week was just what he deserved for all his professionalism and hard work in a difficult time, but it may not wholly change the way his time as the boss will be viewed.
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