Fabio Capello has blamed Barcelona’s recent struggles on the lack of a leader like Carles Puyol.
Barcelona are on a four game winless streak following their 2-1 loss to Valencia and could be pipped to the title by Atletico, who knocked them out of the UCL.
And Capello – who was coach of the Madrid team that pipped Barcelona to the title in 2006-07 after an impressive comeback – feels the lack of a true leader could cost the Camp Nou side.
“This time, the comeback has happened really quickly. Barca have lost a lot of points and are now in great difficulty. When we did it, we went step by step, quietly, right up until the last day of the season,” Capello told reporters.
“You can’t tell what will happen now and it’s possible that Barca will get back on track, both physically and mentally.
“But I think they need a captain in the mould of Puyol to pull them along. There are moments when a coach can try something, but it all counts for nothing if there is no real leader in the dressing room.
“When Juventus struggled this season, [Gianluigi] Buffon and [Giorgio] Chiellini stepped up to turn things around.”
Barcelona will be looking to return to winning ways on Wednesday, when they travel to Deportivo La Coruna.