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Can a Champions League title save Quique Setien at Barcelona?

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Seeds of doubt already sown

Deportivo Alaves v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

With the La Liga season done and dusted for another season, the Barcelona players have gone off on their holidays, taking a short rest before returning to prepare for the Champions League.

It’s a Champions League with a difference of course, and without home or away advantage in the latter stages, one could argue that the tournament is wide open.

Certainly, despite how poorly Barca have played at times this season, they’d be in with as good a shout as anyone if they’re able to dispatch Napoli in the Round of 16.

All of the focus needs to be on the game against the Italians of course, but one can’t help looking a little further ahead.

Real Valladolid v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Quique Setien has the opportunity now to do a ‘hard reset’ of sorts, and take his group of players to glory.

He has shown, sporadically, that when his Barcelona side gets it right they are unstoppable.

Against teams that come to play football against the Catalans, the blaugranes still have the ability to pick them off.

It’s against those who play with the low block strategy and potentially two banks of four placed tightly together where Barca struggle.

Lionel Messi has already set his stall, and his expectations out, and unusually, the team already know from which pool of opponents they’ll face on the way to the final, should they get that far.

Wiping the slate clean and pulling in the same direction is imperative for this group now.

In-fighting, that we are led to believe has occurred behind closed doors, has to be put to one side in order for everyone to focus on the handful of games that could help to banish the ghosts of the recent past.

The question is whether Setien will still be in charge even if Barca were able to emerge as Champions League winners this season.

FBL-ESP-LIGA-BARCELONA-OSASUNA Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

The body language of some of the players at water breaks speaks volumes, and has presented a tarnished image to the wider footballing public.

Yet all the while the Cantabrian coach has been calm, measured and consistent in his response.

Perhaps one of the problems is that he’s appeared to get too friendly with the players, and that just won’t wash at this level. Guardiola and Enrique had the players’ respect because they were precisely the opposite.

In any event, if there are Blaugrana ribbons around the cup with the big ears come the end of August, surely Josep Maria Bartomeu can’t contemplate dispensing with Setien’s services.

Sending Ernesto Valverde packing when Barca were top of the table was bad enough. Ousting Setien if he wins the Champions League would take things to a whole other level.