Rivaldo slams impact of Barcelona's Quique Setien ahead of El Clasico

‘They are yet to improve under him’: Rivaldo slams impact of Barcelona manager Quique Setien and says they are ‘even more dependent on Messi’ thanks to his tactics

  • Barcelona take on Real Madrid in a vital El Clasico league clash on Sunday
  • Rivaldo claims the Catalan club have not improved yet under Quique Setien
  • Setien took over at Barcelona in January and has won seven games since then
  • Defeat for Barcelona at Real Madrid would see them relinquish top spot 

Legendary striker Rivaldo expressed his disappointment in former club Barcelona’s improvement under new manager Quique Setien.

The Spanish boss took over at the Catalan club following the sacking of Ernesto Valverde in January, but defeats to Valencia and Athletic Bilbao since Setien’s appointment have resulted in more doubts surfacing. 

Setien’s side will be under close scrutiny during their all-important El Clasico clash against Real Madrid on Sunday, but Rivaldo, who starred at the Nou Camp between 1997 and 2002, believes Barcelona have not improved at all under the Spaniard’s stewardship.

Former top class striker Rivaldo believes Barcelona are yet to improve under Quique Setien

Setien has taken charge of ten matches so far at the La Liga giants – winning seven

In the Brazilian’s Betfair column, he said: ‘They are yet to improve under new boss Quique Setien and the team haven’t truly found their best form this season. 

‘They have great players but they need to be much better in possession. They also need to shoot more from outside the box to surprise their opponents.’

‘They are playing with a new system which makes them even more dependent on Messi, as he is responsible for making a difference with his dribbling, shooting from outside the area and combining with teammates.

Rivaldo believes that Barcelona are too reliant on Lionel Messi (right) under Setien (left)

 ‘But as we saw against Napoli in the Champions League this week, Messi is targeted by opponents and if he doesn’t show up the team immediately feels it.

Barcelona travel to the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday facing a Real Madrid side who have failed to win in four out of their last five matches in all competitions. 

A win for the Catalan side would take them five points clear at the top of La Liga, but defeat would lift Real one point ahead of Setien’s side. 

Messi, Setien and Barcelona take on Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu this weekend

 But despite the importance of this weekend’s El Clasico encounter, Rivaldo believes that the match is not vitally important in the title race, given the way the Spanish top-flight has panned out so far this season.

He added: ‘El Clasico won’t be decisive in the title race, as we have seen both teams lose points to smaller clubs. 

‘It would, though, give Barca a nice cushion and the satisfaction of leaving their old enemy’s season in tatters.’


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