Busquets won't criticise Valverde as Setien starts in style

By Sports Desk January 19, 2020

Sergio Busquets refused to compare Barcelona under Ernesto Valverde and Quique Setien after the Catalans made a winning start to life under their new head coach.

Barca returned to the top of LaLiga with a 1-0 win over a dogged Granada at Camp Nou on Sunday.

The home side enjoyed nearly 83 per cent of the possession but could not break down their visitors until Lionel Messi struck 76 minutes in after German Sanchez had been sent off.

Setien's variation of a 3-4-3 saw Barca monopolise the ball and push high up the pitch, a style more in keeping with the methods of Johan Cruyff and Pep Guardiola than Valverde, who was sacked this month after losing to Atletico Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana.

Busquets was pleased with their display but would not enter into comparisons between the methods of Setien and Valverde, who eventually lost the faith of the fans and the board due to his more cautious approach.

"We were a solid team. We had control of the ball. They created little against us," he told Movistar.

"It's true that we struggled when they dropped deep but, in general terms, the team played a good game.

"It's not about comparing. Every coach has his style and his way of seeing football. You'll see what Setien asks us to do. We're not going to reveal it.

"We're delighted with what Ernesto did and we're delighted with Setien."

Setien also earned a cheer from the Camp Nou crowd for bringing on Masia graduate Riqui Puig, who found chances hard to come by under Valverde.

The 20-year-old won back possession on the edge of the Granada box in the build-up to the goal, and Busquets hopes it is just the start for the midfielder.

"He has a lot of things to mature, but it looks like he can be here [to boost the team]," Busquets added.

Barca are level with Real Madrid on 43 points at the top of the table after 20 games, with Atletico Madrid and Sevilla eight points adrift.

Related items

  • Portmore United facing mission impossible against Cruz Azul Portmore United facing mission impossible against Cruz Azul

    Jamaica’s Portmore United is expected to face a tough task when they aim to turn the tables on Mexican outfit Cruz Azul, when the teams meet in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League, at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on Tuesday.

    The Jamaicans had the Mexican club on their heels in the first leg, leading 1-0 heading into second-half stoppage time, but a ferocious late rally earned La Maquina a dramatic 2-1 win and the momentum going into Tuesday’s second leg.

    History will be on Cruz Azul’s side with the Mexican club riding a 20-match home unbeaten streak in Concacaf competition and an overall record of 20W-6D-1L, with 69 goals scored and just 12 against.

     Nevertheless, Portmore United Head Coach Ricardo Gardner’s men have everything to gain and will be relying on the exploits of FW Ricardo Morris, who had four shots in the first leg, and GK Kemar Foster, who registered eight saves last week, to try to pull off the result.

    For Cruz Azul, a draw or win would see them advance a round in the SCCL for the first time since 2013-14, when they last lifted the trophy.

  • Sterling and Laporte named in Man City squad for Real Madrid tie Sterling and Laporte named in Man City squad for Real Madrid tie

    Raheem Sterling and Aymeric Laporte have been named in Manchester City's initial squad for Wednesday's Champions League last-16 first leg with Real Madrid.

    England international Sterling has missed City's last two games with a hamstring injury, while Laporte left the field before the hour mark in Saturday's 1-0 win against Leicester City.

    However, both players have been included as part of the Premier League champions' 22-man travelling party for the clash at the Santiago Bernabeu.

    Leroy Sane was thought to be in contention after returning to training last month, but the winger did not make the trip to the Spanish capital on Tuesday.

    Madrid also named their 19-man squad on the eve of the match, with Gareth Bale returning to the fold after sitting out Saturday's 1-0 loss at Levante through illness.

    Eden Hazard misses out on selection after sustaining a potentially season-ending ankle injury in the same match, but striker Luka Jovic is back involved.

    Zinedine Zidane's men head into the game on a run of one win in their last four matches, while City have won back-to-back games.

  • Real Mallorca secure Ki to LaLiga survival Real Mallorca secure Ki to LaLiga survival

    Real Mallorca have signed midfielder Ki Sung-yueng on a free transfer until the end of the season.

    The 31-year-old moves to LaLiga after having had his contract terminated at Newcastle United by mutual consent last month.

    The South Korea international was confirmed as a new Mallorca player on Tuesday and could make his debut in Sunday's clash with Getafe.

    "It's a great honour to play for Mallorca. For me, it's a great honour to play in Spain because when I was younger I dreamt of playing in Spain so hopefully I’m looking forward to playing against the best players. Dreams do come true," he told the club's website.

    "I think now fans from Korea are going to try and be a bit more interested because I play for the team. 

    "Take [Takefusa] Kubo is also a very talented player and those from Japan are watching games. Hopefully we will be able to contribute to the team and a lot of fans from the area will support us."

    Mallorca are 18th in the table and two points from safety after 25 matches, although four points from their past two games against Deportivo Alaves and Real Betis have given their survival hopes a boost.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.