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16th July 2019

Sign Them Up: Quique Setien

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I’m very pleased to welcome you to the brand new ‘sign them up’ series where I’ll be talking about footballs most underrated managers.

Kicking off the series will be the Real Betis Boss, Quique Setien – A man who’s formidable style of play is taking La Liga by storm.

Currently, Quique Setien is the manager at Real Betis after previously working with the likes of Las Palmas, Lugo, Logrones, Equatorial Guinea, Poli Ejido and Racing Santander.

Setien was interviewed several times over by Barcelona recently with a view to taking the managerial position at the end of the season. Despite thrashing out and agreeing every aspect of the deal Setien was later told that current Barcelona manager
Ernesto Valverde will be remaining at the club after agreeing to take a very team friendly deal.

Setien takes inspiration from the likes of Marcelo Bielsa in how he lines up his team. Often working with a 3-4-1-2 system Setien’s teams like to press high up field and almost exclusively force the opposition to out play them.

The intensity his teams provide reminds me of Jurgen Klopp if you were to watch his side in x32 speed. At times it can be exhausting to watch his team play such is the intensity.

The results may not always be perfect but his team play the best football in Europe right now.

Setien, to date in his managerial career hasn’t landed a single piece of silverware but given the lack of funds he’s had to work with throughout his career it’s almost no surprise. He works with the talent he has and moulds them into beautifully gifted technical footballers.

Real Betis captain, former FIFA and Football Manager wonder kid Joaquin, never reached the dizzy heights that so many expected from him. That is until he linked up with Quique.

Joaquin now takes up roles all over the right side of the field, often occupying a fullback role on weekend and a right forward role on the next. Setien has done what so many of the games best coaches failed to do – he took Joaquin’s obvious talents and produced a level of consistency unseen of the 37-year old.

The lack of funds available to Quique throughout his career has hampered the ability of decision-makers around the world to get a full understanding of his managerial abilities.

For example, I could not conclusively tell you whether he has the tools to pull out the correct tactical moves at the correct time such in the lacking quality in depth of his squad. Those who do come tend to be players with limited ability or limited experience at the professional level. That’s not to say his substitutions do not have an impact, but it is to say that we do not see game-changing moments from the bench at Real Betis all that often.

On the field, Setien’s teams always try to win from the outset. Depending on your outlook on the game that’s either a very wise or very foolish and naive move. Against world class opposition his sides can be dismantled as they refuse to sit back and play on the counter.

However, his well-known admiration as a chess player has had a huge hand in the level of precision in his tactical setup. Much like Pep Guardiola, the style of play remains consistent but the points of attack vary from opponent to opponent.

Only Barcelona can hold a candle to the level of possession he consistently achieves over the past few years. It’s his desire to dominate the middle of the field (much like the objective of chess) which has left many La Liga sides wondering if it’s even possible to go toe-to-toe with the 60-year old spaniard.

His team dominated the ball in a way that many teams struggle to do. His methods emphasize the need to keep moving forward with the ball at all times but to always take of the ball.

Often his side will concede left, right and centre because of their desire to attack at all costs but unlike Everton manager, Marco Silva, Setien’s meticulous planning for possession means his sides are rarely over-run despite their counter attacking vulnerabilities.

You would expect a manager with an eye for detail like the Betis boss would be able to plan a structurally more sound defensive approach but it appears that isn’t part of his DNA. Admittedly this is something that he could find hard to ignore if he ever finds himself in the Premier League.

Some of you will be sitting there, thinking to yourself that I’ve just explained Sarriball, but Setien has far more flexibility in his approach. He understands the need for physicality as much as he does the need for technical prowess – His intent however is always the same; Keep the ball away from the opposition and get it in the back of the net as soon as possible.

I don’t know whether the father of 23-year old, UM Escobedo midfielder Laro Setien will ever get the opportunity his play so obviously deserves. Even if it’s not at the elite level of world football the fact he has never managed a side will desirable resources will be a reason we never mention him as one of the world elite.

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