Quique Setien has been surprised by the willingness of Barcelona’s players to accept fresh ideas during his “wonderful” first week in charge of the club.
The LaLiga title-chasers entertain Granada on Sunday in Setien’s first game as head coach, and the former Real Betis boss said he expects supporters to notice a change in the way Barcelona play.
Ernesto Valverde was ousted after a 3-2 defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Supercopa, but Setien is optimistic of a return to form against a team that began the weekend in 10th place.
“The week has gone very well, much better than I expected,” Setien told reporters. “When you come to a new team there’s always uncertainty about how they’re going to respond.
“There’s always that stimulus and you can see they’re very keen. I’ve been very surprised by the attitude of the players, how accepting they’ve been of new ideas.
“I’m happy with everything: the work, the capacity the players have to understand everything you tell them. It has been wonderful. Marvellous.”
From this morning’s workout. You love to see it. pic.twitter.com/6RnDnnmilg
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 18, 2020
Setien was asked about the role he sees Arturo Vidal playing in his midfield, the Chile international having operated in a fluid position at times under Valverde.
The new coach indicated every player would have a clearly defined job to do in his system, but he asked for patience to allow the squad to adapt to his changes.
“There’s no doubt we like players to play orderly systematic football,” said 61-year-old Setien. “We like them to get back into position when they lose it. We need a balance, Barca needs a structure to attack and also to defend.
“I hope it won’t be an over-excited Barca but a motivated one that wants to put into practice what we’ve worked on. I think you will notice the changes – I hope so – but please remember it’s not going to happen overnight.
“If a player is receptive and really wants to learn and improve, you might be surprised what they are capable of doing. Every player has what they have but some outperform themselves. It’s about learning and expanding your abilities and becoming even better still.
“Sometimes players aren’t playing where they feel or play best, but they must put their all into what’s best for the team.”
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