Most of you guys must have seen a sandwich, perhaps eaten it too. A sandwich is made up of two layers of bread: one on the top and the other on the bottom, and a filling is stuffed in between them. Now, imagine if the two breads of the sandwich are rotten. Consequently, it looks like a sandwich which is rotten throughout, but in reality, the breads on the two sides are the actual culprits. And the juicy stuffing here is a metaphor for Quique Setien ‘s situation at FC Barcelona.
It’s fair to say that Quique Setien is a hugely unpopular figure amongst cules right now. A trophyless season topped by an 8-2 humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich has not gone down well with the fans. As a result, he has been sacked recently. However, there are some deeper questions here which definitely need to be addressed.
Is Quique Setien solely responsible for the disarray at FC Barcelona?
In our opinion, the answer is a clear NO.
Quique Setien was roped in the middle of the season after the board sacked Ernesto Valverde, after the loss in the Spanish Super Cup final against Atletico Madrid. The Cantabrian manger was not even the board’s first choice.
He was approached when multiple coaches rejected coaching FC Barcelona in the middle of the season. When Setien arrived, the club had already lost most of its historical identity and was in a chaos. Setien’s situation was like the sandwich, as mentioned at the start of this article. Since his arrival, his situation was similar to that of a patty, which is squeezed in-between two stale pieces of bread.
The bigger picture
Since his arrival at the club, he had to handle two frontiers. Firstly, a board run by a madman and his brainless directors, who went on making ridiculous calls. Some of them include loaning out the only fit and available center back Todibo, and the only fit winger Carles Perez. However, the most ridiculous one is the infamous Arthur- Pjanic swap, which ruined the dressing room atmosphere. Consequently, this resulted in Arthur’s refusal to play for the club in the Champions League when it mattered the most.
Secondly, another critical frontier for him to deal with was the squad of FC Barcelona. The aspect of the squad is a complicated one to make it simple; let’s divide it into two parts.
Mes que thirty
First of all, Setien never got a fully fit Barca squad at his disposal. Before the pandemic, he had a seriously injured Suarez and Dembele, with both of them ruled out for the season. After the restart of the league, he lost De Jong through injury, who barely managed to return before the last game of La Liga, while Suarez did manage to return.
Secondly, the squad of FC Barcelona is stacked with veterans. Apparently, this was the oldest Barca squad which played for the club from the club’s existence in the champions league this year. With the side having so many old legs, you can’t expect any coach to deliver you results. Setien ‘s job looked even more difficult considering the fact that he had such a low time frame to work with.
Apparently, the senior members of the squad have formed a despotic friends group within the last few years. This group has been termed as “Club de Amigos” in the media. The team apparently went against the coach, resulting in a clear divide between the coaching staff and the players on the field.
The players did not comply with specific ideas and philosophy the coach had. This resulted in a disconnection between the players and the coaching staff. The below photo was captured during the drinks break, in the Atletico Madrid fixture.
In the end, it is pretty clear that Setien was not at the root of Barcelona’s problems this season. As a matter of fact, the arrival of a new coach is not going to bear much fruit. Clearly, FC Barcelona’s problems run much deeper than the coaching staff. A complete overhaul would be a much better option for the club going into the future.
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