Setien Become Barcelona Coach and Messi’s Ideal Position

Barcelona made a surprising and strange decision after appointing Quique Setien as the new coach. A decision that can make Lionel Messi have to work harder at playing.

Three days after the defeat of Atletico Madrid in the semifinals of the Spanish Super Cup on Monday (1/13), Barcelona management took the decision to kick Ernesto Valverde.

The 55-year-old was sacked after two failed seasons to bring home the Champions League title which was last won by Barcelona in 2015. This decision came after in the last two days Barcelona’s senior players, such as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, issued support for Valverde.

Looking at Valverde’s statistics with Barcelona, ​​actually the former Athletic Bilbao coach has a record that isn’t too bad. Of 145 matches in all competitions, Valverde won 97 wins, 32 draws and 16 defeats.

Two Spanish League titles, one Copa Del Rey, and one Spanish Super Cup were presented by Valverde. However, a good record and four titles were not enough for Valverde to secure the position. That can be understood, because Barcelona is one of the best clubs in the world today and the Champions League title is the most prestigious trophy.

But then the election of Setien to replace Valverde raised a big question mark. Barcelona’s management has actually been linked to Setien since January 2019. However, at that time the rumor was considered a ‘passing wind’ because Setien did not have a good record as a coach despite having coached in Spanish football since 2001.

Setien has never felt the title as a coach. The only title that was born to the man born in Santander was the 1985 Spanish Super Cup when he was an Atletico Madrid player.

Citing Transfermarkt data, Setien’s track record is not flashy. Setien is like a mediocre coach. The only club that feels a 50 percent win percentage with the 61-year-old coach is Racing Santander in the 2001/2001 season. The rest Setien has never had a winning percentage reaching 50 percent at the club he coached.

The decision to choose Setien is also somewhat strange if you see the recruitment of coaches conducted by Catalunya club management in the last two decades. Barcelona always chooses between coaches with star status and achievements or coaches who have connections with the club.

Frank Rijkaard, Pep Guardiola, Tito Vilanova, Luis Enrique never won the title as a coach before handling Barcelona. But all four have connections with Barcelona, ​​namely as former players or coaches of Team B.

While Louis van Gaal, Radomir Antic, Gerarto Martino, and Carles Rexach have quite impressive achievements as a coach. Thus Setien is an anomaly.

The only capital that Setien might attract Barcelona management to is the former Real Betis coach who is an admirer of Azulgrana legend Johan Cruyff with total football. The style of Setien’s players who are concerned with possession of the ball makes Barcelona’s management interested.

“My game model is based on the relationship with the ball. If you have the ball, no opponent can score a goal against you, unless you have an own goal. Players will enjoy soccer with the ball in the foot, rather than chasing the ball,” Setien said.

Setien’s presence at Camp Nou makes Lionel Messi have the opportunity to play harder on the field. Because, Messi could again be forced to play as a central striker by Setien.

Setien is a coach who always relies on one attacker in a 3-4-2-1 or 4-2-3-1 formation. With the condition of Luis Suarez ascertained to be absent until the end of the season after undergoing surgery, the player who has the greatest chance of becoming a center forward is Messi.

During this time Messi more often played on the right wing with Valverde. But, La Pulga has experience playing as a center forward and the results are not too disappointing. The moment occurred in the 2009/2010 season, when Barcelona recruited Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

At that time Messi was “forced” to play as a center forward after Ibrahimovic claimed Pep Guardiola wanted to get rid of the squad. Although not accustomed to playing as a center forward, Messi remained successful that season by scoring 47 goals in 53 matches.

Messi will certainly have to work harder for the rest of the season if played as a central striker. Apart from having to adapt again to appear in that position, Messi (32) is no longer young.

Another option for Setien is to force Antoine Griezmann to become a center forward and let Messi play freely as a regulator of the attack behind the striker or wing in the 3-4-2-1 and 4-2-3-1 formation.

An easier way is Setien forcing Barcelona management to buy a new center forward in the remainder of the January 2020 transfer window, yet it is too risky to force Messi into a position he doesn’t like.

At a young age, Messi claimed he would rather play in midfield, creating opportunities like Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta.

“I feel more like a midfielder now, a player who builds attacks and creates opportunities, rather than scoring goals. I learned to control myself in the match and choose moments. I think that helps with the problem of fatigue,” Messi told TyC Sports.

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