The journey of Quique Setien as the manager of Barcelona started off with two victories. It sounds nice but those watched the matches against Grenada in La Liga and Ibiza in Copa del Ray, would be worried about the future of their favourite team.
Valencia down Barcelona pic.twitter.com/QOtEbNAmKa
— Faisal Caesar (@faisalyorker1) January 25, 2020
Barcelona needed a goal by Lionel Messi to get past Granada 1-0 in Setien’s debut on Jan. 19. A double by Antoine Griezmann, including the second goal in stoppage time, saved their faces against the third-tier side Ibiza in the Copa del Rey with a 2-1 win on Wednesday.
Lionel Messi had 11 shots against Valencia today; more than every other Barcelona player combined (3).
Unable to break through Valencia. pic.twitter.com/64yQaqk6Lr
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 25, 2020
The New Barcelona, as many fans started to say after the departure of Ernesto Valverde, looked pale and lack of steam throughout those matches and against Valencia, the fear came to reality – On Saturday Barcelona was completely outplayed at Valencia, which was content to let Barcelona have the ball and then wait to pounce on the break. Valencia won 2-0 despite also missing a penalty and hitting the post.
So since the arrival of the great Setien:
Barcelona got a lucky 1-0 win against Granada
Needed a last minute winner to win against a Segunda division B team
Lost 2-0 to Valencia that didn’t have their best player Parejo
But hey beautiful football and 6000 passes ??
— PP (@blancocapitan) January 25, 2020
The defeat at Mestalla underlined the lack of synchronicity between Barcelona and Setien. Tactically, they were a lost soul, while in terms of temperament, the team of Lionel Messi and friends, could hardly match their opponents, who continued to press despite missed opportunities.
So far Barcelona’s possession based game is too much focused on possession only. No passes that break lines and there is no accelaration in their passing game too. Valencia have no trouble with their opponent so far and could have already scored 2 goals within 30 minutes.
— ??? ???? ? (@TheEuropeanLad) January 25, 2020
At half-time, Barcelona had mustered just one shot on target – from Messi, who sent his shot straight into Domenech’s hands. Barca tried hard to pull themselves up in the second, but when you are not sure about the tactics of your coach, then the ship does not sail smoothly. Then, there were a lot of talks about the style of new coach – fluid football. But in reality, it was nowhere there. Even if someone tries to follow the so-called Cryuff school of football, it just can’t cut a satisfactory figure without a strong backline.
So Barcelona made almost 900 passes only for them to end up losing 2-0 with a messed penalty and a cancelled legal goal for Valencia, you can't make this shit up I swear pic.twitter.com/3wKAmtLTkY
— OMAR. (@Omaaar96) January 25, 2020
Barcelona dominated in possession, but did it give anything in return? Absolutely not. Barcelona’s lack of spine in defence cost them dearly and also, they missed the services of Luis Suarez for sure, whose contributions have always been overshadowed by the media-hype of individual glorification. After the departure of Neymar, if any player in the team, who consistently tried hard to put things in order at Camp Nou then it is none but Suarez. His invisible leadership can’ be judged easily by numbers or anything else.
It is too early to get annoyed with the new manager, but it is always hard to control the sentiments of fans. Setien needs a definite plan and that would be not to entertain with so-called fluid football, but instill compactness, which is Barcelona’s must-need right now.