Quique Setien faces a daunting task of getting FC Barcelona to challenge strongly for the champions league. As Messi would want to push for European Glory for the fifth time in his career, the 6 time Ballon d’ Or winner is no longer the La pulga atomica he once used to be. As the Barcelona manager is well aware of this fact, Mundo Deportivo, have reported the plan Setien would use to get the best out of Messi in the Champions League.
Riqui Puig, the La Masia graduate has turned quite some heads with his performances. Frenkie de Jong is no different when it comes to dominating the midfield. The Dutchman, was an integral part of Ajax before moving to Barcelona and playing with his idol, Lionel Messi. Messi would now, receive a lot of help from him as Setien is said to ask Messi to “stay as close to the oppositions penalty area as possible.”
Setien believes Messi comes deep to collect the ball and then tries to dribble past defenders and in this process, looses his energy. Because of the low energy near the final 1/3 of the pitch, Messi finds it difficult to apply the killer finish and a beautiful chance goes begging by.
This is to be solved by making the youngsters do the running. Puig and De Jong will be asked to command the mid-filed with Lionel Messi up ahead. Also, the youngsters will be asked to make passes which will “disrupt the oppositions defence.” This will enable Messi and Suarez to make the most of their stamina in the area of the pitch where they actually need to make a difference.
Messi asked to select his interventions wisely
Setien has asked the Barcelona main man to “wisely choose his interventions.” Because he clearly wants Messi to retain his stamina, this appears to be a good suggestion. With Messi up front and the wonderful chemistry he has with Luis Suarez, the duo could be seen to be involved in more goals than before.
Unfortunately, this is also suggestive of the fact that age is catching up with Messi. A fact that no one can deny. We are looking at the ending moments of the best dribbler in this era.
At the moment Setien’s plans appear to be wise and effective. But, all will be revealed when they face Napoli on 8th August.
Setien has also suggested a similar plan for Luis Suarez, the duo is clearly past their prime. How the Cules wished that Neymar was still here and would have taken some leadership. Stay strong cules, for the night is darkest before the dawn.
Visca el Barca!
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