Barcelona’s misery and disappointing play was on display in loss against Valencia.
Barcelona suffered their first defeat under Quique Setien losing 2-0 to Valencia. An own goal by Jordi Alba and a Ferran Torres strike were more than enough to sink a feeble Catalan side.
Prior to the match, Setien said that the players were still getting used to the new system and, in theory, it should not take them a long time to get used to it.
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Judging by the performance against Valencia, it is going to take some time and then some because the same problems they had under Ernesto Valverde are the same problems they are having under Setien. In fact, they could be getting worse.
Setien has Barcelona playing a 3-5-2 and they do not look comfortable at all. While it’s only been three games, it is a risk trying to change the system halfway through the season. What it’s also done is play players out of position and take away some of the things they were good at doing.
Take Sergi Roberto, for example. In this new formation, he’s playing as the third centre-back. He’s a midfielder turned right-back who is now playing as a centre-back. He’s suspect defensively and was caught out massively in Ferran Torres’ second goal.
Some may point at possession and point it as a sign of progress but what good is possession if Barcelona don’t do anything with it? The “tiki-taka” play is useless if you can’t create and that’s been the problem since Setien took over.
Defensively, Barcelona are worse than ever. Valencia sliced through the defense with ease and it goes back to possession without penetration. Valencia were able to sit back and hit them on the counter and were successful time and time again. Had it not been for Ter Stegen, the game would have been a rout for the home side.
What the new system has also done is taken Lionel Messi, their best player out of the game. Utilizing him as a false 9 takes him out of the game since neither the midfield or the wide players are able to properly link with the Argentine. They rely on Messi more than ever but is unable to be as influential as under Ernesto Valverde.
Coming in and changing the system was always going to require time. Unfortunately for Setien, time is something Barca do not have. Either things improve quickly or Setien’s time as Barcelona manager will be short.