Quique Setién has endured a turbulent time since taking over at FC Barcelona in January. He's had to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, some dressing room unrest, a Copa del Rey exit and failed to retain LaLiga. In recent weeks, there's been speculation that he could be sacked ahead of next season. However, Josep Maria Bartomeu has given his backing to the under-fire coach in an exclusive interview with SPORT.
Will Quique Setién be the head coach next season or does it depend on the Champions League?
He's under contract. When we brought him in, we explained that it was a project for this season and the next one. To judge a coach for a few months, in the middle of a pandemic, is very complicated. Arturo Vidal said the same thing: they've had very little time to get to know each other and work together.
During the final stretch of the league campaign, did you consider sacking him?
No, not at any moment. I know there were reports which came out and said if he didn't win the next two matches we'd replace him with 'Pimi' (Garcia Pimienta) but we never spoke about that. Not with Abidal, Planes or the board of directors. Setien is our head coach.
Is there a replacement available? Did you look for other options, like Laurent Blanc for example?
We haven't spoken to anybody. Not Blanc or anyone else. I've spoken to Xavi because we have a good relationship but he recently signed a new deal at his current club. Xavi will coach Barça one day and he'll decide when that is. And whoever brings him here will be right to do that, but only when he feels ready.