In January at Jeddah, Atletico Madrid gifted Barcelona shame in the semifinals of the Spanish Copa de Espana. Barcelona lost and Ernesto Valverde’s reign in Camp Nou came to an end. Valverde did not have a bad time at Camp Nou. Even though in the Champions League his best player choked, he always hid it by winning the La Liga title. But, in the course of time, his understanding with the “best” weakened and the result was evident – end of the managerial contract.
Ernesto Valverde at Barcelona:
— Ben Hayward (@bghayward) January 13, 2020
Valverde was the sacrificial lamb, as many of the fans said at that point of time and it was done to save the status of the best.
Everyone can be blamed, but not the most protected one – it is a really biased world.
— The Pep (@GuardiolaTweets) January 13, 2020
Quique Setien, who was serving his role as the manager of Real Betis on a 3-year deal, was appointed as the new manager of Barcelona. He led Real Betis to the sixth place in his first year as the manager, with the subsequent qualification to the group stage of the UEFA Europa League.
In Betis, he implemented the fluid football and as soon as he was appointed to fix things in Camp Nou, the hype of the return tiki-taka and Cruyff system gained momentum. The Barca bandwagon started to search Cruyff and tiki-taka and some of Setien’s early matches. But in reality, trying to see the whole scenario emotionally and being blind about the most protected one, does not help a team to evolve.
It is never easy to build a team on the basis of the comfort zone of just one player, but to build a team, one needs to have the freedom to try his own plan of action. A manager needs to have that independence to implement his system – but sadly, at Camp Nou, it is hard to do such.
When a player becomes bigger than the club, no club can prosper.
Setien’s arrival instantly didn’t go down well because, although there were some players who wanted Ernesto Valverde to be sacked, most of the heavyweights in the dressing room were on their former boss’ side.
The immediate results did not help create a calm atmosphere, because Setien’s Barcelona did not perform well in his first few games in charge.
Barça's manager and Quique Setién. pic.twitter.com/OQabloF6yf
— M•A•J (@Ultra_Suristic) July 18, 2020
They lost convincingly away at Valencia and were eliminated from the Copa del Rey by Athletic Club.
Now, the La Liga title has slipped away.
The defeat against Osasuna was not taken lightly by any means and the statement of Lionel Messi was fiery, which pointed finger towards the coach indirectly.
After the Osasuna defeat, Setien met with the technical secretariat, and then he plans to meet with Josep Maria Bartomeu, the club’s president.
Quique Setién is worried about what he‘s seeing in the locker room and hurt by Messi’s words. He understands that many things can be said in the heat of the moment.
The goal is to unite the squad. Setién feels strong and has never said he wants to give up. [cat radio] pic.twitter.com/VAmJniFEkd
— barcacentre (@barcacentre) July 17, 2020
For the time being, Setien will still be in charge of Barcelona’s match away at Alaves.
His future will be decided next week.
The methods and approaches of Setien have also not been to the likings of the so-called protected one.
🗞️ — 'Setien resists' [md]
• After meeting with Bartomeu, Setien will continue despite the crisis. He's strong enough to continue managing and will lead the team to it's clash against Napoli on the 8th of August. pic.twitter.com/pLmgyrtU92
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) July 17, 2020
Setien started out strong, taking measures such as training on a match day, weeks without parties, and with training camps for the players, but he had to gradually eliminate them in the face of pressure from the squad.
Many of the heavyweights stated that Setien’s training sessions had been the key to the loss of players’ confidence.
“The sessions have not had the necessary intensity, with continuous stops that affect the rhythm.”The opponents are beating us in [terms of] intensity”, Messi said.
Setien's legendary water break team talks where absolutely no one cares. pic.twitter.com/oxbmJ9ZeWv
— M•A•J (@Ultra_Suristic) July 17, 2020
This is what he was referring to. There have been some high-profile players who have come out of a training session saying that it was the worst training session they’d ever had.
On other occasions, the players have questioned the coaches’ orders during training.
That rejection had its climax in the dressing room at the Estadio de Balaidos, with a big argument between the coach and players about the tactical approach and substitutions during the match.
One massive advantage which Real Madrid have over Barcelona is that they trust their manager. Zidane can have these guys do and win anything. Combine that with the talent of Varane, Benz and others, it's a strong combo. Barcelona players don't seem to trust Setien.
— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) July 17, 2020
A few days ago, after two days off, Setien said at the end of training that those who wanted, could play a small-sided game and those who didn’t want to could leave.
Most of them left.
None even bothered to listen to the coach.
And the next day, something similar happened when they did the passing and shooting drills.
A handful stayed.
Quique Setien might become another sacrificial lamb, but until and unless the power of so called heavyweight players end in Barcelona, this freak show will not end.
— Faisal Caesar (@faisalyorker1) July 18, 2020
Eder Sarabia’s attitude hasn’t helped the relationship either – his shouting at the players during the Clasico did not sit well at all.
Neither did the ones he did in training. Just a few days ago, when he was shouting like that, a player responded with a serious tone. “You can treat me with more respect”, he said.
Other players ignore his orders in training and, as everyone can see, also during the cooling breaks.
(🌕) #Bartomeu continues to support #Setien despite the loss of the league. Setien has the ability to continue with the project. Next week, there will be rest days, which will be keys, to reduce tensions between staff and coach // 🚨💥👥 @rac1
— Hagrid ✆ (@HagridFCB) July 17, 2020
The players have also disliked some of Setien’s comments during his press conferences – Some of the examples are when he said that he is better than some of the players in the rondos, when he questioned Messi’s numbers or when he doubted Arthur Melo’s professionalism.
All this has caused the players to drop little messages about the coach.
One can easily take the side of the players and start slamming the manager, but again, one needs to see the other side of the story as well, which the blind supporters don’t even wish to see.
Barcelona can sack Setien & bring in any other manager, but that won’t really solve the problem. The problem lies much deeper than that. The whole club needs a makeover, and it’s a relief that the elections are next year. Changes are NEEDED!
Save us. @victor_font
— Hagrid ✆ (@HagridFCB) July 16, 2020
In a training session, a manager can be tough and he only wishes to implement his positive plans.
If the players don’t give him enough time and respect then how could the manager work?
If the players want a manager to obey their words then it is never possible to build a team. Setien shouts, Setien criticized, Setien did not give players respect etc. are examples to dish out another sacrificial lamb and in the meantime, the most important point would miss out yet again, Camp Nou requires an overall renovation.
Florentino Perez did not even bother when Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid in 2018 because he wanted to rebuild and he has proved his point. But Barca does not wish to rebuild but are habituated to make sacrificial lambs one after another.
Barcelona need to end the power of some heavyweight players.
Otherwise, this freak show will not end.