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Barcelona have been good, bad and ugly under Quique Setien

Loss to Valencia exposes weaknesses

La Liga: Valencia V FC Barcelona Photo by Maria J. S. / AFP7 / Europa Press Sports via Getty Images

In the wake of unexpected defeats, knee-jerk reactions are a given.

The aftermath of Barca losing at Mestalla for the first time in over a decade will see cules losing their collective minds.

But rather than throwing out banal comments, and using one’s own prejudices in order to back up opinion on who is to blame, perhaps it’s worth looking at the evidence before us.

The manner of Quique Setien’s hire was objectionable, but in many ways understandable.

Ernesto Valverde’s Barca were a shadow of the team they could’ve been and not playing the ‘Barca way’ is largely why so many supporters were against him week in and week out.

Losses are an accepted part of the game, playing a way that is anathema to all that Barca hold dear is not.

Therefore, Setien’s hire made sense.

We all marvelled at the way his Real Betis side earned three points at Real Madrid last season, and grudgingly accepted that they were the better side when defeating Barca at Camp Nou.

And yet, for all of the good football that the Verdiblancos played, they were porous at the bank and lacking in basic concepts and certain aspects.

Fast forward to now. The new man has only had three games in charge and so, clearly, it is far, far too early to judge him.

However, the way the team have played under him so far has been mixed. Expectations when a new manager takes charge are, rightly, that there will be a noticeable uplift in performance, desire and way of working.

I was at Camp Nou for the Granada game, and despite it being the coldest I’d ever been there, I at least comforted myself in the knowledge that Barca would warm me up.

They didn’t.

A lot has been made of 1000+ passes, and to be honest, at times it was a joy to see that again. But I left the ground seriously underwhelmed.

Were it not for Leo Messi’s late strike, the Blaugranes would’ve earned a solitary point against a team that were, realistically, there for the taking.

Against Ibiza, the disorganisation, particularly at the back, was marked. A Griezmann double doesn’t really paper over those cracks in my opinion.

And then we have Valencia. To be fair, although we were under the cosh at times, I thought we played well. On another day and with a bit of luck, we’d have earned at least a point.

Playing a different system, and one that has allegedly left most of the players mentally and physically tired after training, is going to take time to get used to also.

Unfortunately for Quique Setien, that’s a luxury he doesn’t have.

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