Pep Guardiola Praises Barcelona Coach Quique Setien, Wishes Him Well

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2020

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: Manchester City manager / head coach Pep Guardiola during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Manchester City at Villa Park on January 12, 2020 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has expressed his admiration for Barcelona boss Quique Setien and wished the 61-year-old all the best at the Camp Nou.

Per Sport's Pol Ballus, the former Blaugrana boss was asked about the new man in charge and talked about meeting him and his staff in Manchester in August: "He was here in Manchester. He and his staff were very friendly. It was a pleasure. I wish Quique Setien the best. His teams have always played really nice football. I followed him especially during his time at Betis."

Setien will make his Barcelona debut on Sunday when the Blaugrana host Granada. It will be the first outing since the departure of Ernesto Valverde, who guided the team to two La Liga titles.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 14: New FC Barcelona head coach Quique Setien during the press conference during his unveiling at Camp Nou on January 14, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Valverde had grown unpopular after back-to-back UEFA Champions League exits at the hands of Roma and Liverpool, squandering three-goal leads in both ties. On top of those exits, the football had grown stale.

Per Rory Smith of the New York Times, Valverde's pragmatic approach did not fit the club ethos:

Guardiola pushed the Catalans to new heights during his spell, winning three La Liga titles and the UEFA Champions League twice while playing entertaining football.

Setien should bring a similar style back to Barcelona. The veteran manager is known for prioritising attack and scoring goals, and his teams tend to play a high-risk game.

That approach was on full display at the Camp Nou in November 2018:

His attacking mindset comes at a cost, however, as his teams tend to suffer defensively. Setien's approach has yet to yield any silverware, but he's never coached a club the size of Barcelona.

The veteran manager has done everything possible to share his vision with the squad, including getting heavily involved in the training sessions:

Barcelona and rivals Real Madrid are tied for the La Liga lead, with both teams on 40 points after 19 matches.

The Catalans have just a single win in their last five matches across all competitions and are coming off a 3-2 loss to Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup semi-final. They were also held to a draw by local rivals Espanyol to start the new year.  

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