FC Barcelona have made a huge change midway into the season. Following the disappointing result in the Spanish Super Cup, Los Blaugranas have decided to part ways with Ernesto Valverde. Quique Setien has arrived as his replacement.
The former Betis manager comes with strong expectations to the Camp Nou. Los Blaugranas sit at the top of the standings and are one of the favourites to win the UEFA Champions League as well. Anything less than winning both trophies – while reaching the final stages of the Copa del Rey – would be considered as a disappointment.
However, Setien also represents a complete turnaround in comparison to the kind of manager Valverde was. Here are three things we will see from Barca’s new manager moving forward.
The return of “Barca’s DNA” and a more flexible approach
One of the biggest areas where everyone used to criticize Valverde was the lack of a proper style that could suit Barcelona. Something that everyone calls “ADN Barca”, or “Barca’s DNA” if it’s translated properly. Most experts believed Valverde wasn’t a right fit for Barcelona since he wasn’t able to showcase that since the arrived to the Camp Nou side.
Things will change completely following the arrival of Setien. He is known for being a flexible manager – more on that later – since he knows how to adjust his sides depending on the team he faces. That’s what he did last season when he was leading Betis, as he secured a 4-3 win over Los Blaugranas at Camp Nou with an excellent tactical exhibition.
The passing. The flexibility. The movement. The transitions. It’s all there. Setien at Barcelona represents the return of the club’s DNA to Camp Nou. Something that never should have been lost in the first place.
Better management skills from the touchline
Another thing to look for should be an improvement in game management. Last season’s Betis was a joy to watch from a tactical point of view, and that side knew how to manage situations properly. Imagine what could Setien do with better players at his disposal. Having players with a high tactical IQ such as Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto, Arthur and Arturo Vidal could only boost what he wants to do in midfield.
Most of Valverde’s criticism came due to his performances on big games. The losses against Roma and Liverpool during the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals in back-to-back seasons were things the fans never forgave him. But the defeat against Atletico Madrid was the final incident in a series of underwhelming matches against top opposition.
Setien does not have a lot of experience as a big-game manager. He has previously managed Racing Santander, Poli Ejido, Logrones, Lugo, Las Palmas and Betis. Throughout his career, he has coached in three different divisions and a total of 487 matches. His lone European experience is his stint with Betis during the 2018-19 UEFA Europa League. He carried Los Verdiblancos to the Round of 32.
That said, he has shown great tactical skills when it matters the most. And he will reflect those coaching abilities with a star-studded squad at Barcelona.
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