Quique Setien’s first three games in charge of Barcelona have not but the desired change and the defeat in Valencia has generated concern.
In very little time, Setien has earned the respect of people at the club (directors, employees, professionals) thanks to his naturalness and closeness. Barça are convinced they have a coach with a lot of integrity who is a really hard worker.
Since Monday, they also know that he is humble and wise. The first thing he said to those closest to him after the Valencia loss was: “I made a mistake.”
Setien believes he made mistakes with the team (the players he picked for the game) and with the tactics. He thought strengthening the midfielder with ball-playing players would give control, but conceded nothing went as planned. Above all in defence when the team did not have the ball.
He tried to change things he thought hadn’t worked under Ernesto Valverde, introducing variants in his first three games, with a three-man defence and a more static Sergi Roberto.
The ex-Real Betis coach has learned his lesson. There will be consequences after Mestalla. In defence… and in midfield, because he’s realising they lack muscle in there.
However, one problem is not of his making: the lack of a natural striker like Luis Suarez. Lionel Messi cannot do what he does best from the right if they don’t have that central focus. The option of Ansu Fati on the right isn’t convincing at the moment, either.
If Rodrigo is finally signed, and with the return of Ousmane Dembele, he will have more options to make the changes he wants. It is evident that what he’s done so far has not provided the results he was looking for. He says he has learned his lesson. There cannot be any more slip-ups.