Thursday, 09 April, 2020

Andres Iniesta Slams Barcelona Over 'Ugly' Situation With Manager Ernesto Valverde

Ernesto Valverde could be on his way out of the Nou Camp Ernesto Valverde could be on his way out of the Nou Camp
Cary Erickson | 14 January, 2020, 08:27

Andrés Iniesta has given an interview on Spanish radio channel Onda Cero, where he discussed the current situation at Barcelona regarding the coaching position and criticised the club for their treatment of Ernesto Valverde.

That Valverde - who signed a contract extension last February to the end of this season - clung onto his job after that Champions League defeat and a subsequent Copa del Rey final loss against Valencia is perhaps a bigger surprise than Monday's reports of the Spaniard's impending demise. English tabloid the Daily Mail says former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, now without a club, could be a possible replacement.

The club called Setien, who will be officially introduced on Tuesday at Camp Nou Stadium, "one of the most experienced coaches in Spanish football".

Setien, 61, will take over a Barcelona side who sit top of La Liga and are safely through to the Champions League knockout rounds, where they face Italian side Napoli in the last 16.

Barça have held preliminary talks with another former player, Xavi Hernández, who is now with Qatari club Al-Sadd, but he has reportedly said he is not interested in moving to Catalonia at the moment. Xavi said he met with Barcelona sports director Eric Abidal on Friday in Doha but did not reveal the nature of the meeting.

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Setien had been with Betis since 2017 until deciding to take some time off at the end of last season. It was humiliated at Liverpool 4-0 after winning the first leg 3-0 in the semifinals last season, and the previous year it squandered a 4-1 first-leg lead against Roma in the quarterfinals.

Last seen at Betis before being sacked last May, Setien - a notoriously attacking coach - will be tasked with restoring some panache to Barcelona's play as they chase success in La Liga, the Copa del Rey and, perhaps most importantly, the Champions League. In 163 matches with Barcelona, he won 108, lost 20 and drew 35.

The Catalan club are expected to part company with Ernesto Valverde as soon as they can find a replacement.

For the Catalans, one of the most successful clubs in European soccer, it is not only about what is won, but how those victories are achieved.

Barcelona's next game is on Sunday at home against Granada in the Spanish league.