Barcelona has made the decision to changed its coach recently. One of the most successful clubs not just only Spain but in the world has faced too many problems in the past few years. Fans have tended to blame the then manager Ernesto Valverde and unfortunately for him the club and its management came to the same conclusion. His successor however seemed to be strange one for many people. Enrique Setien isn’t a famous manager nor was he highly sought after yet Barcelona has given him the job over other options including club icon Xavi.
Setien is described as a tactician, but before talking about tactics and style, it is important to note his pedagogical skills. His chosen style of play is the result of understanding the mentality of the player on the field in the first place.
However Setien is prone to reflection periods and constantly returns to his own footballing career for inspiration when he doesn’t agree with what his coaches are saying. To be fair Enrique is trying to find an approach that will suit each player individually- this is the basis of his everyday work.
A few days of training was enough for Setien to force Barcelona to play differently in their approach. Of course, miracles do not happen, and it takes time for the team to get used to the requirements of the new coach. Nevertheless, you can already see his influence in Barcelona’s game. Firstly, a the tactics are different. Formally, its the same 4-3-3 as played under previous coaches but when the possesion shifts from attack to defence, Sergio Roberto drops to become one of the three central defenders along side Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti. Similarity when Barca are on the attack, Jordi Alba has been instructed to push forward almost to the same line as the forwards.
The strongest quality of Setien’s has instilled is a strong work ethic. He gives players as much freedom as he would like to get when he entered the field but at the same time expects more in terms of pushing full throttle for the first 60+ minutes. The acceptance of his approach has been pretty much universal throughout the squad as most football players are not afraid to seek creative solutions. The approach to people and the definition of professionals as people, and not a set of functions on the field – this is what is really important in the first place when we talk about any Setien team.
Everyone was happy after the first game. 82% of ball possession, a goal from Messi and a deserved victory. However, it is not always that simple. The second game with Valencia turned out to be a disaster, and the idea “until the ball is with us, they will not score” didn’t work at all. As the result Barca missed two opportunities
Setien will already be aware of the things that he needs to improve upon to make Barcelona run more effectively. Implementing his new approach when transitioning from attack to defence will be key to his future success as will the transition back into attack. Lastly he will be aware of the talent at his disposal and the need to clearly find a role for Frenchman Antoine Griezmann who has yet to spark at Barca.
It takes time to adapt for both players and the coach. However, the changes are needed now. Second place in the league is never considered acceptable for Barcelona and their fans. Second place behind Real Madrid is even worse. Therefore, Setien has a lot to do in the next few months if he is to be deemed a success at Barca.
Post by Irina Kuzina. Follow her now on Instagram.