Setien: Barcelona job beyond my wildest dreams

By Sports Desk January 14, 2020

Quique Setien described being appointed Barcelona coach as being beyond his "wildest dreams", calling the role the highest accolade in world football.

Setien – who left Real Betis in May 2019 – was named Barca coach in something of a surprise appointment on Monday following Ernesto Valverde's departure.

Barca great Xavi had been strongly linked with the job, though reportedly turned down the offer to succeed Valverde at this stage in the season.

And having been handed the opportunity to manage one of the world's biggest clubs, ex-Las Palmas coach Setien – who acknowledged his shock at the speed of the move – is convinced his eagerness for the job will be easy to transmit to Barca's star-studded squad, even if it will be impossible to improve on the team's past achievements.

"Without a doubt I want to thank this institution for the opportunity they've given me to come here," he said. 

"Not even in my wildest dreams could I have imagined this. I'm someone who is very emotional and today is very special for me.

"I am excited to start with this project and that is the biggest thing I have to transmit to the players, we know we depend on the players.

"I need to transmit this desire, this enthusiasm, this will to win, this confidence that I have now and normally this is not very complicated for me to transmit it.

"We have had the first training session and everything has gone very quickly. [On Monday] I was walking around by the cows in my town and now I'm at the training ground at Barcelona coaching the best players in the world for a huge team which I'll never be able to improve upon.

"This is the highest accolade."

Thursday's defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana proved to be the final straw for Valverde, who took over at Camp Nou in 2017 and guided Barca to two LaLiga titles plus a Copa del Rey triumph.

Setien, though, lauded his predecessor's work. 

"I want to thank Ernesto. He's always seemed to be a very good person, he's always been very nice to me," the 61-year-old said. 

"I value the work he has done, how he is, his principles and many other things about him. I'm also trying to get some contact with him because there are many things from his work which are going to be very good for us.

"I want to thank him for leaving me with a side which are top of the league. You can imagine I was waiting for an opportunity. You always assume a team down at the bottom in a negative run of form.

"The work Ernesto has done and how he has left the team is something to be thankful for. It is not normal to be left with a side which are top of the league."

Related items

  • Harrison stays on for third loan spell at Leeds United Harrison stays on for third loan spell at Leeds United

    Leeds United have confirmed the signing of Manchester City winger Jack Harrison on loan for a third successive season.

    Harrison has spent the past two campaigns at Leeds, becoming a first-team regular under Marcelo Bielsa.

    The 23-year-old made 46 appearances as Leeds won the Championship and sealed promotion to the Premier League last term, scoring six times and providing eight assists.

    Leeds also confirmed the loan transfer is with a view to a permanent deal.

    Harrison becomes Leeds' third addition of the transfer window, with Helder Costa and goalkeeper Illan Meslier having made their stays permanent following impressive loan spells from Wolves and Lorient respectively in 2019-20.

  • Liverpool complete deal for defender Tsimikas Liverpool complete deal for defender Tsimikas

    Liverpool have confirmed the signing of defender Konstantinos Tsimikas on a long-term deal.

    A Greece international who plays at left-back, Tsimikas joins the Premier League champions from Olympiacos for a reported fee of £11.7million (€13m).

    The arrival of the 24-year-old provides an additional option to Andy Robertson, covering an area of need in Jurgen Klopp's squad ahead of the 2020-21 season.

    Liverpool had also been linked with Norwich City's Jamal Lewis, though reports suggested they were unable to come close to agreeing a fee for the Northern Ireland international.

    "I'm very happy, I'm very proud to be here. For me, [it's] the biggest club in the world," Tsimikas told Liverpool's official website. "It's an honour to be here and I will give my best."

    "The league here, I like a lot. I watch it on the TV and it was always one dream I had from when I was a kid to come to play in this league and to come through.

    "With a lot of work and focus on what I do and what the coach wants, and every day working hard in training, I can be on the highest level.

    "[I want] to achieve [our] goals. To win the league again and also to win the Champions League."

    Tsimikas played in both legs as Olympiacos knocked Arsenal out of the Europa League, though their run in the competition was ended by Wolves in the following round.

    His addition provides competition at a position Robertson has made his own. The Scotland international played in 36 league games in the title-winning campaign, with Klopp also using midfielder James Milner in the role.

  • Valencia unveil first-of-its-kind 'Memorial Wall' in Mestalla tunnel in tribute to coronavirus victims Valencia unveil first-of-its-kind 'Memorial Wall' in Mestalla tunnel in tribute to coronavirus victims

    Valencia have unveiled a 'Memorial Wall' in the players' tunnel of their Mestalla home in tribute to victims of the coronavirus pandemic and those who have worked on the frontline of the health service.

    The mural, which is said to be the first of its kind at a top-flight stadium, will be a permanent fixture at the Spanish club's famous ground, which is the oldest in LaLiga.

    Around 35 per cent of Valencia's playing squad and backroom staff tested positive for COVID-19 in March, with Ezequiel Garay and Eliaquim Mangala among those to contract the respiratory disease.

    Some sort of normality has returned to the region with the resumption of football in June but president Anil Murthy is keen to help those who have been affected by the pandemic, while also paying tribute to Cruz Roja, the Spanish branch of the Red Cross.

    "The Mestalla is right in the centre of Valencia and is an emblematic location for all Valencianos," Murthy said. "When there was flooding, people came here to take refuge.

    "During the coronavirus epidemic we are going through, a very tough period for everyone, we are opening up the Mestalla again to show how we can be part of the community.

    "We have the foodbank here, which is still going on to help people in this time of need – people need jobs and people need food.

    "Valencia is much more than just a football club. We are a social investor and are very happy to work with the Red Cross.

    "This is a very important aspect of our club and we shall continue doing more."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.