On the 13th January, Barcelona fans got their wish. Ernesto Valverde was relieved of his duties as manager of the Blaugrana. Though he delivered 2 league titles and some domestic success, it wasn’t enough for the club. The style of football was not easy on the eye and the growing reliance on the magic of Lionel Messi couldn’t paper over the cracks for much longer. Quique Setien has succeeded Valverde at the helm and already, there are encouraging signs in Catalonia.
The Spaniard began his tenure at the Camp Nou with a 1-0 win over Granada. You can guess who got the winner. Though the scoreline isn’t the most flattering, the Setien philosophy and return of attacking football was apparent. Something we haven’t seen since Luis Enrique left the club.
The former Betis manager set up the side in a 3-4-3 formation and to say they were dominant would be a huge understatement. A staggering 83% possession with 18 shots to Granada’s 5. This is the football Barcelona fans have been crying out for. The team looked hungry, pressing well and eventually finding a way through. The visitors put up a resilient performance, but the red card to German Sanchez in the 69th minute meant they couldn’t hold on for long.
Leo Messi of course broke the deadlock. Beautiful one touch football between Antoine Griezmann and the Argentine before Arturo Vidal’s clever back-heel allowed Messi to slot it in for 1-0. That goal was a team goal, complete with passing and free flowing movement before a good finish. Not reliant on the greatest of all time to beat 5 players on his own and then the keeper. That’s the main difference between Setien and Valverde.
Barcelona and Setien – The perfect match?
“I tried to move freely and play my game and it was only when I saw Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona play that I started to understand how things really worked.”Setien on how Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona side inspired him
Setien understands the club too. Though he may never have put on the shirt as a player, you can tell he gets the ‘Barcelona way’. He encourages playing the beautiful game with ‘fun’. We did a whole article on him HERE, if you’re interested. The tiki-taka style Pep Guardiola dominated football with, whether he can deliver anything like that, only time will tell. However, the early signs are encouraging and definitely more entertaining for Blaugrana fans.
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