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Under-fire Barcelona boss Quique Setien ‘will remain in charge for Champions League’

Under-fire Barcelona boss Quique Setien ‘will remain in charge for Champions League showdown with Napoli after emergency board meeting’ following Real Madrid sealing LaLiga title and Lionel Messi criticism

  • Setien will take charge of Barcelona’s Champions League games next month
  • Under-fire manager was handed a second chance after failure in the league
  • Real Madrid sealed LaLiga title on Thursday after Barcelona’s form collapsed
  • They now refocus their efforts on return leg with Napoli on August 8
  • Setien was criticised by Barcelona captain Lionel Messi after Thursday’s loss
  • But president Bartomeu and club’s board have decided to stick with manager 

Barcelona ‘have handed under-pressure manager Quique Setien a stay of execution’ following an emergency board meeting on Friday.

Setien looks set to be given the chance to redeem Barcelona’s flagging season when the Champions League returns next month after Real Madrid beat them to the LaLIga title.

A miserable home defeat to Osasuna on Thursday evening – coupled with Real’s victory over Villarreal – sealed the championship with one round of fixtures to play.

Barcelona’s under-fire manager Quique Setien will remain in charge for the Champions League

The decision to stick with Setien comes despite pretty pointed criticism from Lionel Messi

The decision to stick with Setien comes despite pretty pointed criticism from Lionel Messi

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi then branded the team ‘erratic and weak’ in the aftermath, saying that ‘since January, everything has gone very badly.’

However, following a meeting chaired by president Josep Maria Bartomeu to discuss Setien’s future, he will now remain until the end of the season.

That means Setien will be in charge of the team when they play Napoli in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on August 8. The tie is level at 1-1 following February’s first leg played in Naples.

The front pages of Diario Sport and Mundo Deportivo on Saturday confirm this news although Setien’s performance remains very much under review.

Barcelona conclude their league season with a visit to Alaves on Sunday and will seek to rediscover some form of momentum to take into the final stages of the Champions League.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has decided to keep faith with Setien for now

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has decided to keep faith with Setien for now

Saturday's Sport led on the news of Setien's reprieve with the headline 'Setien is wobbling' as it made clear that his future remains uncertain despite the news

Saturday’s Sport led on the news of Setien’s reprieve with the headline ‘Setien is wobbling’ as it made clear that his future remains uncertain despite the news

Mundo Deportivo's headline was 'Setien resists' after the board decided to keep him on

Mundo Deportivo’s headline was ‘Setien resists’ after the board decided to keep him on

The front cover of Sport ran with the headline ‘Setien is wobbling’ with the story saying that Barcelona ‘decided on unity and trust that Setien will take the situation forward… although his future is in debate.’

Mundo’s headline was ‘Setien resists’ with Barcelona’s hierarchy taking the decision ‘despite acknowledgement that the team are in a crisis.’

Setien, the former coach of Real Betis, was only appointed on January 13 following the dismissal of Ernesto Valverde.

Barcelona topped LaLiga at that stage but defeats to Valencia, Real Madrid and then Osasuna during the run-in, either side of the Covid-19 shutdown, as well as dropped points in draws against Sevilla, Celta Vigo and Atletico Madrid allowed Real to overtake them.

It made Messi’s jibe all the more damning but Setien agreed with the Argentine’s remarks in the wake of Thursday night’s defeat.

‘I am responsible for our situation, as I am the manager of the team,’ Setien said, as per quotes from Marca.

Messi was furious after Barcelona lost 2-1 at home to Osasuna on Thursday evening

Messi was furious after Barcelona lost 2-1 at home to Osasuna on Thursday evening

The Barcelona captain did not hold back in his post-match TV interview after the loss in LaLiga

The Barcelona captain did not hold back in his post-match TV interview after the loss in LaLiga

‘I hope we will face the Champions League this summer as a different team, but I am not sure about what happens next for me.

‘I agree with the post match comments from Lionel Messi about self-criticism, and we must look at ourselves in the coming weeks.’

In a rare post-match TV interview, Messi said after the defeat at the Camp Nou: ‘This game represents the entire year. We have been an erratic and weak team. 

‘Madrid did its part by winning all its matches, which is impressive, but we also helped them to win this league. We have to be critical of how we have played, starting with the players, and the rest of the club.

Antoine Griezmann scored an away goal for Barcelona as they drew with Napoli in February

Antoine Griezmann scored an away goal for Barcelona as they drew with Napoli in February

Real Madrid players hoist Zidane up in the air as they celebrate the club's 34th La Liga title

Real Madrid players hoist Zidane up in the air as they celebrate the club’s 34th La Liga title

Roberto Torres scored the injury-time winner as Barca lost at home for the first time since 2018

Roberto Torres scored the injury-time winner as Barca lost at home for the first time since 2018

‘We have lost because of our mistakes and not because of Madrid’s successes, as many say.

‘The feeling on this team is that it tries, but that it cannot get the job done. Today in the first half they were better than we were and it seems we have to fall behind to react like we tried to do in the second half.’

In a nod towards under-pressure manager Setien, Messi added: ‘We are going to have to change a lot if we want to do something…’



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