BARCELONA (Reuters) - Quique Setien is more used to navigating his way through a field of cows rather than taking centre stage on one of the world’s most famous pitches but the new Barcelona coach has pledged to bring an uncompromising attacking style of play to the Catalans.
Since he has spent most of his coaching career in Spain’s lower leagues, no one would blame Setien if he felt rather nervous at the prospect of taking charge of a team overflowing with some of the world’s most expensive footballing talent.
But Setien is eager to prove that his modest coaching past will not stop him from making his mark with the Spanish champions and at Camp Nou.
“Yesterday I was walking next to cows in my village and today I was at Barcelona’s training ground coaching the best players in the world,” said the 61-year-old, who takes over from Ernesto Valverde and has signed a contract until June 2022.
“This is an enormous club and it’ll never get better than this. I would never have imagined being here even in my wildest dreams so I want to show my gratitude for being given this chance and convey my excitement for taking on this challenge.”
Barca have won the last two editions of La Liga and currently lead the standings but decided to sack Valverde on Monday after growing tired with the team’s recent uninspiring performances.
Setien was a surprise choice to take the vacant role due to his low profile outside of Spain, although his reputation as an attacking ideologue has excited fans who feel their team have lost their swagger.
“My objective is to win everything there is to win and for me there is no better way to do that by improving each year. The surest path to victory is by playing well, it’s important to remember that,” Setien added.
“I have very clear ideas, I listen to everyone but it’s difficult to convince me to change my ways. I am my team’s biggest defender and I’ll die with my ideas.”
Setien got his first top-flight job with Las Palmas in 2015 but rose to prominence in a two-year spell with Real Betis which included masterminding a 4-3 victory away to Barca.
The coach also said he would take a keen interest in the club’s famed academy, which has produced the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique although few youngsters have managed to break into the first team of late.
“I have a passion for bringing in young players,” he added.
“When a young lad comes into the team he brings with him a new energy and the top players know they cannot afford to relax.”
Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Pritha Sarkar