Setien Makes Immediate Impact at Barcelona
Quique Setien has had his new players working hard since taking over from Ernesto Valverde, ordering a double session on his first full day and calling his players in for training ahead of the match on Sunday.
His influence was apparent in his first game in charge against Granada on Sunday. Setien has spoken openly about the importance of possession and Barca monopolised the ball, enjoying 82.6% possession and recording 1005 passes. That’s the most possession they’ve had in a game since 2011 under Pep Guardiola.
82.6% - @Barcelona’s Quique Setién has become the second manager with the highest possession figure in a @LaLigaEN game since at least 2005/06, after Pep Guardiola (84% vs Racing de Santander in 2011 and 83.9% vs Levante in 2011). Premiere. pic.twitter.com/A5FSdHyGCn— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 19, 2020
It was a performance that will offer real optimism for the future that Barca can rediscover their identity under Setien, although there is still plenty of work for the 61-year-old to do.
For all their possession Barcelona did not create too many clear-cut opportunities and were aided by the dismissal of German Sanchez in the second half.
The goal when it came was worth waiting for though. Lionel Messi coolly finishing off an excellent team move to give Setien a debut win and send the team back to the top of the table.
Riqui’s Ready For The First Team
Riqui Puig had been tipped all week to get his first La Liga minutes of the season on Sunday and so it proved. The 20-year-old come on in the 71st minute for Ivan Rakitic and enjoyed a bright cameo.
The midfielder said after the match that Quique Setien had told him to be “daring” and “press high” and he carried out his manager’s instructions to perfection and played a key role in the goal.
Puig won the ball high up the pitch from Victor Diaz and then laid it off to Sergio Busquets to find Lionel Messi.
Quique Setien praised Puig after the win saying he “read the game well,” while Busquets said the youngster has “lots of qualities” and “can give us a lot.”
The new manager’s faith in Puig is pretty evident and we should see plenty more of the midfielder between now and the end of the season.
Busquets Gets Back To His Best
Much has been made of Sergio Busquets’ form this season and he was even dropped to the bench a number of times under Ernesto Valverde.
However, he was back to his best under Setien on Sunday, completing 142 of his 157 passes, which is more than the entire Granada team.
Passes completed by Sergio Busquets: 142— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 19, 2020
Passes completed by Granada: 130
Complete domination of the ball. pic.twitter.com/2J0w9jNoBv
We already know how highly Busquets thinks of Setien, thanks to the shirt he handed the manager with a message praising his style of play, and looks set to thrive under the former Betis boss.
Busquets said after the match he was left with “good feelings”in the wake of Sunday’s win and looks to be one of the big winners from Setien’s appointment.