Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 August 2020

New Barcelona manager Quique Setien must bring style as well as silverware to Camp Nou

Setien, 61, replaces Ernesto Valverde with Barca top of La Liga ahead of Real Madrid on goal difference and tasked with the job of restoring the club’s passing style

Quique Setien, left, has been installed as Barcelona's new manager, replacing Ernesto Valverde, right. EPA
Quique Setien, left, has been installed as Barcelona's new manager, replacing Ernesto Valverde, right. EPA

Quique Setien was installed as the new manager of Barcelona late Monday ending days of speculation over Ernesto Valverde's future at Camp Nou.

Setien, 61, replaces his fellow Spaniard with Barca top of La Liga ahead of Real Madrid on goal difference and tasked with the job of restoring the club’s passing style.

The move for Setien will come as a surprise to many, especially as Barca had made overtures to lure former midfielder Xavi back to the club, but the Spaniard opted to remain in his post at Qatari club Al Sadd.

While Valverde departs having won back-to-back La Liga titles, Setien apart from some success in Spain’s third tier in 2011, has won nothing of note as a manager.

His best La Liga finish was with Real Betis in 2018, taking them to sixth and qualifying for the Europa League, but he parted ways with them last season as the team finished 10th.

Betis fans had by then turned on the former Racing Santander and Atletico Madrid midfielder, despite the attacking possession football he played, seeking more passion and less precision.

From that perspective, at least, Setien, does fit the criteria for a club who pride itself on possession and attacking flair.

The former Spain international, who has been handed a contract until June 2022, said in a recent interview he had been inspired by Johan Cruyff’s side while playing against them in the late 1980s.

"I remember when Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona came along,” Setien told The Coaches' Voice website.

"From then on, I started to make sense of what I had felt throughout life, through my career.

"I started to really watch football. To analyse it. To understand what I felt, and what I wanted to put into practice when I became a coach."

After the Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova era, Barcelona began to lose some of their swagger while still picking up trophies at an impressive rate.

Under Luis Enrique and then Valverde the focus shifted from teamwork to the individual, with elite players such as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez becoming increasingly important.

Setien, a chess enthusiast who had been linked with the Barcelona job in the past, must rearrange the pieces to give the Catalans their identity back.

As Valverde discovered, domestic silverware is not enough at Barcelona. Fans demand Champions League success as well as quality performances.

Setien delivered an example of what his sides are capable of last season when Betis beat Barcelona 4-3 at Camp Nou - the first team in two years to triumph there and also the last side to do so.

Valverde's last assignment with the Catalans will not be remembered fondly. The Spaniard, 55, was booed every time his image appeared on the big screen at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah last week as Barca exited the Spanish Super Cup following a 3-2 defeat to Atletico Madrid.

Updated: January 14, 2020 12:03 PM

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