3 reasons why Quique Setien is the perfect fit for Barcelona | La Liga 2019-20
1 year, 9 months, and 3 days.
FC Barcelona is a club that has become increasingly used to success, and the Roma capitulation was unlike anything fans of the present generation had experienced. It couldn't get any worse, could it?
Anfield has always had an ominous atmosphere. There are shades of bright red everywhere you look, and Jurgen Klopp's menacing juggernaut of a team rarely fails to scythe through its opposition. Lionel Messi's otherworldly performance from the first leg should always have been enough, but the Barcelona team that showed up at Anfield was unrecognizable.
For nearly two years, fans of the club have been screaming for heads to roll. There has been something fundamentally anti-Barcelona about the club these past two seasons, and a combination of several factors have contributed to the team's spectacular failure in Europe.
Ernesto Valverde may not have been the root cause for all of Barcelona's failures, and he will likely make full use of his two La Liga titles at the club for plausible deniability. The team's style of play during his tenure, however, paints a horrifying picture.
The winds of change seem to have finally arrived in Catalunya, with Valverde drawing his last straw as Barcelona suffered humiliation yet again in the Supercopa last week, losing out to eventual finalists Atletico Madrid. What followed was a spate of awkward and unfruitful negotiations with a few former players, and the club finally decided to appoint Quique Setien as the new manager.
The former Real Betis boss was always in the reckoning for the head honcho's role at Barcelona. His credentials are top-notch and his team's style of play is reminiscent of the Barcelona of old.
While Setien's Betis side did have a few flaws, the team has spent the last two years winning hearts across Europe. Barcelona and Quique Setien are a match made in heaven, and here are 3 reasons why the Spaniard will change FC Barcelona for the better:
#3 A fresh start for fresh faces
Many of Barcelona's problems over the past two years have been attributed to an aging squad, and rightly so. With the likes of Sergio Busquets, Luis Suarez, and Gerard Pique entering the fag end of their careers, the club predictably tapped into the transfer market.
Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann, in particular, were expected to light up the Camp Nou. While the new signings have been some of the brightest of Barcelona's players this season, the fireworks are not quite as spectacular just as yet.
Frenkie de Jong has become a first-team regular at Barcelona and puts in excellent shifts more often than not. However, the Dutchman was a class apart at Ajax and virtually ran the show in the Eredivisie. The Frenkie de Jong of early 2019 is still in hiding, and one wouldn't bet against his rejuvenation under Quique Setien.
Junior Firpo has found it difficult to adjust to the team's structure, and a reunion with his former coach could work wonders for the youngster as well. Griezmann, to his credit, has successfully adapted to a role on the left-wing and is improving with every passing game. With Luis Suarez injured for the next few months, the Frenchman will have to step up to the plate, and a successful combination with Lionel Messi in Setien's fluid setup can be potentially lethal.
Setien also has to address the case of Ousmane Dembele. The French winger has had a torrid time in Catalunya, and a change in management could be a step in the right direction. Dembele is expected to return in mid-February and will want to make a good impression. A new lease of life is at stake.
Despite their recent failures, Barcelona's incredibly talented individuals always give the team a chance. One can only hope that Quique Setien's magic needle does what it has always done: stitch.