Barcelona is only a day away from facing Napoli in the Champions League at Camp Nou in the return leg of Round of 16. Champions League fans can book Champions League Final Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.
The 1-1 draw achieved in the away game in Italy gives the Blaugranes a slight edge, but the tie is certainly far from over. Setien has been at the heart of severe criticism for several weeks after his poor squad management, amongst many other factors discussed in our latest The Barcelona Podcast.
This resulted in Real Madrid being delegated La Liga champions just because of 2017. Barcelona has no choice but to win the Champions League to avoid finishing the season empty-handed. A likely potential scenario that would add even more pressure on Josep Maria Bartomeu, Setien, and even the players themselves.
Many Culers have been calling for the immediate sacking of Setien, and I can fully understand why. Supporters have become frustrated with the manager’s poor distribution of minutes to avoid fatigue.His inability to build an effective relationship with his players.
Ultimately, failing to win La Liga despite taking over the team when they were leading the table. As I argued in the latest The Barcelona Podcast, however, finding someone better to take over at this stage of the season is almost impossible.
While the media has speculated with big names such as Xavi, Ronald Koeman or even Mauricio Pochettino, they have all reportedly refused a move to the Camp Nou – at least for now. Laurent Blanc has also been linked to Barcelona in recent days.
Honestly, I am not convinced that a manager who has been out of a job since June 2016 (when he was sacked by PSG) could lead the change that this Barcelona squad so desperately needs. Even if Blanc was to join Barca, this should take place once the current season is over to give him enough time.
He has to implement his philosophy, decide on the players he would like to keep, then build a rapport with those who are staying. There just isn’t enough time for this to happen before the Champions League restart.
Barca B manager Garcia Pimienta, who is currently fighting to promote his youngsters to Segunda Division, would be a better choice as he already knows Barcelona inside out after years of successfully managing almost every age-group in La Masia.
While Pimienta would not be a terrible choice right now, I believe that it makes more sense for Bartomeu to give Setien a final shot to redeem himself and prove why he was hired in the first place. Ultimately, Bartomeu took a risk when he appointed Setien mid-season.
I would be shocked if he sacked him ahead of the biggest tournament of the year. While Setien is not perfect, he does know the players better than any of his potential replacements. If reports are to be believed, has already spoken to Messi about sticking together for the benefit of the team and park their differences until the season is over.
While it is impossible to predict whether this case of ‘Better the devil you know‘ will bring the Champions League to the Camp Nou, I believe keeping Setien is the best way forward given that the alternatives would not build on the progress made since the manager’s arrival back in January.
Barcelona needs a fresh start, but the time for this will come once the Champions League is over.
Francesc Tomàs is a Catalan columnist featured in ESPN, The Guardian, and many others. Born and raised minutes away from the Camp Nou, Francesc has been sharing his opinionated views with thousands of faithful Cutler listeners via The Barcelona Podcast since 2017.
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