With the arrival of Quique Setien, Barca must now set their objectives for the second half of the season and aim to renovate the unstable structure that was moments away from collapsing completely. Here’s a detailed analysis of the requirements Setién must meet at Barcelona in order to bring this club back to its glory days.
Barcelona, at this very moment, are far from perfection. In fact, the fear it spreads among teams in Europe is practically non-existent. However, now that Ernesto Valverde’s tactics shall no longer haunt the club, Barca have the perfect opportunity to restore its lost values and identity with Quique Setien.
These are five requirements the new Blaugrana coach must look to fulfill at his new home.
1. Make possession an obsession
With Valverde, possession was rarely limited. Barca would often have the ball in abundance, however, it lacked value and purpose.
The midfield would usually be seen dominating this sector, but since they feared the loss of possession so much, creativity and innovation was almost ruled out.
Losing the ball would mean extra work, extra responsibilities and the threat of conceding would simply increase. Now that Quique has the chance to revamp the club’s ideologies, possession must have purpose and should be used to create triangles, tire oppositions, open spaces and most importantly, the will to create chances must be there.
Losing the ball should not be feared as it should only encourage the team to apply more pressure on opponents. Fast flowing football and an attractive style of play will help this group revive its morals.
2. Trust the youth
Barca’s most prized possession is, undoubtedly, La Masia; the academy that has provided the club with gems every year.
Sadly, in Valverde’s era, youngsters such as Riqui Puig, Alex Collado and Carles Alena didn’t receive the playing time they truly deserved.
While some may argue that these talents haven’t lived up to their expectations with the first team, it must be said that placing faith in youngsters and developing players is a process that takes time and effort.
Giving up on them so soon is unacceptable. No player can claim themselves to be a legend on their first day or simply find themselves in comparisons with legends like Xavi or Andres Iniesta.
While prospects such as Ansu Fati may exceptional cases, giving playing time to youngsters is only going to help the club set itself a base for the future.
What Barca actually lacks is a long term project. Sacrificing meaningless games in the league or simply showing the courage to allow youngsters to express themselves on the pitch will speak high volumes of this club’s identity.
3. End Messi dependence
There’s no denying that Lionel Messi’s presence is always beneficial for the team.
Nonetheless, the burden on him has simply grown excessively in these last few years or so. With the Argentine forward playing a key role in attack and midfield, the players surrounding him tend to to get too relaxed and comfortable.
This cannot be allowed anymore, especially if Barca plan on achieving trophies such as the Champions League. To get the best version out of Messi, he needs to be allowed the freedom to make dribbles and create chances.
This won’t be possible, however, if this side can not deal effectively with oppositions that put all their emphasis on Messi and only wish to restrict him from finding spaces.
Messi magic has saved Barca from impending humiliation on numerous occasions, but its time to see Barca work as a unified and collective unit, one that isn’t all over the place and can help Leo operate at his absolute best.
4. Restore defensive discipline in the squad
Valverde’s side was a victim of a poor defensive structure during the 19/20 campaign. Last season, there were some significant improvements with Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet’s formidable partnership, but with the duo not at its best anymore, we’re back to square one.
With the high line Barca’s defense plays, cutting some sort of slack is optimal, however, conceding carelessly with full backs not guarding areas or the center backs being positioned so awkwardly makes it easy for opposition attackers to find a way through.
Setien’s defensive record wasn’t the best at Betis as he clearly prioritised attacking football. Nevertheless, it will be his responsibility to guide Barca’s disorganised defence and get the best out of his full backs. Getting the back line to maintain a solid partnership will be essential if they are to win trophies.
5. Bring an end to the away game crisis
Playing in hostile territory hasn’t been easy at all for the club this season.
Barca have managed to obtain a very unconvincing amount of points away from home and this seemingly lack of confidence has been a major reason Barca have lost their flare and imposing image.
Setien must address this problem seriously and instill passion and honor in these players. Representing the Blaugrana crest should be a matter of great honor for these players.
Sadly, they seem to lack that and simply fall prey to teams that press us high and score goals early on. Cowering down in fear on the road has become a habit at this point; its as if the players are prepared to come out with dropped points.
With such a mindset, claiming to be the kings of Europe is nothing more than a joke.
The former Betis manager needs to strengthen the team’s mentality and allow it to be playing at its full potential.
Venues must not matter in Barcelona’s road to success, because the style of play should always remain consistent.
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