Quique Setien’s opening seven games as Barcelona coach are not enough to provide concrete conclusions, but something that stands out is his confidence in Leo Messi and Sergio Busquets.
The Spanish midfielder had lost prominence under Ernesto Valverde, but he has started and played the whole 90 minutes in six of his team’s games under his new boss.
He only sat out the Copa del Rey match against Ibiza and has become one of the most vital cogs of the team once again after struggling to nail down a spot in the starting line-up in the first half of the season.
He didn’t play in the opener against Athletic Club and was benched against Sevilla, Levante and Celta Vigo.
Meanwhile, he started but was replaced in a handful of games including matches against Real Betis, Borussia Dortmund, Getafe, Inter, Slavia Prague and Leganes.
Setien, however, has helped him rediscover his consistency, as he believes that he is player of paramount importance for the team’s philosophy.
The former Real Betis coach wants Busquets in the core of his midfield dictating the tempo, helping in defence, pressing and trying to break the opposition’s lines with short and long passes.
While players such as Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal, Arthur Melo and Frenkie de Jong have been rotating in the middle third, the 31-year-rold Catalan is an undisputed starter for Setien.
Busquets even scored his second goal this season in LaLiga Santander, the first time he has netted more than once in a league campaign in his 12th year with Barcelona.
His best scoring season was back in 2008/9 and 2013/14 when he managed three goals across all competitions.
If Setien continues showing such faith in him, he may well break that record this campaign.
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