It’s official. Quique Setien is the new manager of Barcelona. The man known for his remarkable performances with the reigns of Real Betis. Let’s get down and dirty in the details, as we find out exactly who Barcelona’s new manager is.
Born in Santander, Spain, Setien was a well travelled player. He made over 500 appearances as a central midfielder, including over 300 for his hometown club of Racing Santander.
After retirement, the now 61-year-old manager coached sides lower down the Spanish pyramid before finally getting a chance at Las Palmas. Arriving with the side firmly in the relegation zone, Setien managed to guide them to an 11th placed finish. The early signs of his managerial prowess. Eventually, he got a move to Betis, where he could really begin to hone and display his managerial skills…
Quique Setien – Philosophy
Before departing the Estadio Benito Villamarín at the end of last season, Setien was renowned for his fluid systems and eye-catching football. Although pragmatic, his formation of choice is usually a 3-4-2-1. This is with the two behind the striker operating as attacking midfielders more than wide players. This is the structure that beat Madrid at the Bernabéu and Barcelona at the Nou Camp. Tactical genius.
What you may see from the image above are a couple of things. Firstly, you may see the likes of Giovani Lo Celso and Junior Firpo, who both now operate at major clubs across Europe. Tottenham Hotspur and Barcelona, respectively. However, the other thing you may have recognised, or more so not recognised, is the striker. Quique was never quite able to bring in the prolific goalscorer to spearhead his side. It left his xG margins looking pretty bleak despite magnificent performances and perhaps led Betis to slip further down the table than they deserved.
Joining Barcelona is an entirely different kettle of fish. Luis Suarez may be out till the end of the season. But Setien still has French focal point Antoine Griezmann, star on the rise Ansu Fati and of course Lionel Messi. Not only that, but if he is to replicate his system at Barca, then Frenkie de Jong will be a more than suitable replacement for the workhorse Andrés Guardado.
“Simeone’s Atlético play like he did. I told that to Cholo; I love what you do, the titles, what you have achieved, but I do not like how your team plays.”Quique Setien on Atlético Madrid
The perfect appointment?
Quique Setien is a heavily progressive manager. He was ahead of the pack in acknowledging the change in dominant styles in football. That’s why he goes for almost two sets of wide players, preferring to fire low balls across the box. This is similar to both Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola. However, it’s not the only approach Setien has. He also possesses a style I can only liken to Arsene Wenger:
With patient passing buildup play on the right side of the pitch, the opponents converge and press, leaving an underloaded left side. Quick triangular passing to escape the press often opens up these unguarded areas, allowing Betis, and now Barcelona, to expose the bare defence.
Now that Setien has the full reigns of Barcelona, we can’t wait to see how his philosophical approach can transform this Blaugrana side back into one of the world’s most feared teams. The start of a new era for the Catalan club. Lots for the fans to look forward to!
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