PETE JENSON: Setien was always an odd choice and deserved the axe

PETE JENSON: Quique Setien was hired with Barcelona top of LaLiga but finished the season trophyless and in disarray… he was always an odd choice as boss and after becoming the laughing stock of the Champions League, it was only right he got the bullet

  • Quique Setien has, as expected, been relieved of his duties at Barcelona
  • It is hard to understand exactly why Setien was given the job in January
  • He looked happy just to be there and seemed like a man briefly passing through
  • Barca were top when he got the job but finished the season without silverware
  • Fans’ choice Ronald Koeman will take over despite board wanting Pochettino

Barcelona have sacked Quique Setien three days after he oversaw the most humiliating result in the club’s history.

President Josep Bartomeu, himself under huge pressure to resign, announced the decision to fire the 61-year-old coach after a board meeting on Monday morning.

Setien was hired in January with Barcelona top of the league but they finished the season trophyless and in disarray. At his presentation as Ernesto Valverde’s replacement he said: ‘When I take over a team I only guarantee one thing: we will play well.’

Quique Setien oversaw the most humiliating defeat in Barcelona’s history against Bayern

Barcelona were top when he took over but finished the season trophyless and in disarray

But there was no improvement in Barcelona’s playing style and in his 25 games in charge the team lost five times.

His first defeat came against Valencia in the league, he also lost to Athletic Bilbao in the cup. His only Clasico ended in a 2-0 defeat at the Santiago Bernabeu and although the team recovered top-spot before lockdown, when football returned in June a series of tame draws saw Madrid pull-away at the top and win the league.

When Barca lost at home to Osasuna in the penultimate game of the season it seemed they had hit rock-bottom but there was much worse to come. The 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich was the club’s heaviest defeat in European competition and made them the laughing stock of the Champions League.

He was always an odd choice and seemed just as surprised as everyone else when he was hired

Barcelona thought they had hit rock bottom when they lost at home against Osasuna


Games: 25

Wins: 16

Draws: 4

Defeats: 5

Setien always seemed like an odd choice as coach. Likeable, a fan of open expansive football, and moderately successful at smaller clubs he was appointed after Xavi, Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman had all turned the job down.

In his press conference he admitted being as surprised as anyone by the appointment saying: ‘Yesterday I was out walking with the cows in my village and today I’m training the best players in the world.’

From his gleeful participation in some of the training ground passing drills to the selfie that his assistant Eder Sarabia took of the technical team before the Bayern drubbing he always seemed like a man passing briefly through the club and making the best of a once in a career opportunity.

His assistant Sarabia also incurred the wrath of some of the Barcelona heavyweights when he was filmed cursing some of the players’ mistakes from the dug-out during the defeat to Madrid.

Two of the coaches who turned the job down when Setien was appointed, Koeman and Pochettino, have led the field to replace him – but it is the former who is getting the job.

But much worse was to come as Bayern made them laughing stock of the Champions League

Setien was happy just to be there and always seemed like a man passing through club briefly

Setien’s reign will be 10th shortest in Barcelona’s history, having managed them for 217 days

Pochettino is president Bartomeu’s favourite but fans cannot forget his connection with Espanyol, their local rivals, and comments he has since apologised for that he would rather ‘go back to his farm in Argentina than coach Barca’ have lingered to damage his chances.

Koeman is an altogether more popular choice as the man who scored the goal at Wembley that won the club’s first European Cup.

The players are more interested in who presides over the club and want Bartomeu out as soon as possible. Rumours circulating in Barcelona on Sunday that Messi had informed the club he wants to leave have been denied by the club but not by the player.

Messi knows playing-up uncertainty over his future increases the pressure on Bartomeu to stand down and allow elections to happen. But the president, whose mandate runs out at the end of next season, has so far shown no intention of quitting and if Messi’s intention to leave is confirmed, he will point to the player’s £633million (€700m) release clause.

Former Barcelona player Ronald Koeman is the fans’ choice and will take over the reins

The players are more interested in who presides over the club and want Josep Bartomeu out

Lionel Messi knows uncertainty over his future in putting pressure on Bartomeu to stand down

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