The writing was on the wall for Ernesto Valverde, but it appears that the Spaniard refused to read it. After three years at the helm of Barcelona, Valverde was sacked by the Barcelona board earlier this week. While a majority of the Barcelona faithful would have heaved a sigh of relief at Ernesto Valverde's ouster, a few paid much attention to the man who was appointed to replace him. Former Real Betis manager Quique Setien is the latest to walk through the managerial door at Camp Nou. So how is it that Setien has been chosen to replace Valverde at the Catalan giants?
In an interview with a leading British publication, Quique Setien was quoted as calling Lionel Messi a 'purist', back when he was the manager of a Real Betis side that registered a thrilling 4-3 win over Barcelona at Camp Nou. Two years after that victory, Quique Setien will now have the opportunity to work with arguably the best player on the planet. However, in the same interview, Setien made an interesting revelation.
“I’m a romantic, I like the football.— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) January 13, 2020
"I’m a spectator, and I don’t buy a ticket to watch a team stay stuck in their half waiting for a 0-0 or a counter-attack.”https://t.co/O6dQUc5ara
The new Barcelona manager revealed that before signing for Real Betis, he asked the club why they want him and if they were sure that his style of football suited the club. In the same breath, Setien took the example of Jose Mourinho. The Tottenham manager was at the pinnacle of football during his Porto, Inter Milan and Chelsea days. He did, however, garner a reputation for setting up his teams in a particular, disciplined way; an approach that didn't go down too well with a number of fans. Setien was quoted as saying that he refuses to alter his approach to football in order to suit the club. So what exactly is his approach?
The last game Barcelona lost at home was to a Real Betis side coached by Quique Setien. Lionel Messi was among the scorers on that fateful night, but goals from Junior Firpo, Joaquin, Giovanni Lo Celso and Sergio Canales propelled Betis to victory. There were growing calls for Quique Setien to replace Ernesto Valverde since that night. While that move did not transpire over the summer, Barcelona fans will now be able to see Quique Setien stamp his authority over the Barcelona squad. The Real Betis side that beat Barcelona at Camp Nou in 2018 had shades of Pep Guardiola on show. The playing out from the back, the unlocking of the Barcelona defence, the use of the full-backs, all scream of Guardiola's approach. Quique Setien, however, is a man of his own.
Not only did he successfully implement the Pep Guardiola-esque style of expansive football in a number of teams in Spain, but he also set in place the roots for bringing attractive football to his teams. With the likes of Lionel Messi, Frenkie de Jong, Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez at his disposal, the new Barcelona manager will be anything but short of options in the coming weeks.
Barcelona are blessed with a mix of naturally gifted footballers and players who are willing to put in a shift in the middle of the park (read: Arturo Vidal). There is also a general consensus that Quique Setien could set up his Barcelona team in a way that is not overly reliant on Lionel Messi. The likes of Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann, therefore, could have a field day working with the new manager.