Setien's short squad leaves the Barça coach no room to rotate stars

Griezmann and De Jong forced to play a lot of minutes in their first Camp Nou season

Ter Stegen y Griezmann, claves en el Barça
Ter Stegen y Griezmann, claves en el Barça  | JAVI FERRÁNDIZ

One of the issues that marked Quique Setien's time at Real Betis was rotations. It's a philosophy that didn't go down well with everyone in the dressing room, but one he felt necessary to keep the squad connected.  

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"For me, everyone is important," he said in 2018. "Sometimes it is easier to take players out when they're doing well than when they're doing badly, because I want to reach the end of the season like last year. I try to make sure no player feels like they're on the outside." 

Few imagined then that two years later he would take over at Barça and that he would find a much smaller squad to work with. 

In total, he has 18 first-team players, pending one more attacking signing, plus Ansu Fati. But with Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele out for a long time -- and Jordi Alba also injured. 

So far this season, the spine of the team has been led by Ter Stegen (2.700 minutes). He is followed by Antoine Griezmann, the outfield player with the most minutes (2,626). Injuries to Suarez and Dembele throughout the season have made it difficult to drop the ex-Atletico man. 

The last time it happened was at San Mames when he came on in the second half as Barça were knocked out of the Copa del Rey. Another of the new signings, Frenkie de Jong, is next on the list. The ex-Ajax midfielder has played 2,618 minutes. No midfielder has played as much as him. 

Sergio Busquets (2,174) and Ivan Rakitic (1,170) follow the Dutchman. Arthur is then just ahead of Arturo Vidal (1,158 vs. 1,150).

In defence, Gerard Pique (2,593 minutes) leads the way. Pique also played the most minutes of the defenders in 2018-19 (4,680 minutes) ahead of Jordi Alba (4,510). Injuries have forced Alvba down to the 11th most used player this season (1,647 minutes). 

After Pique, comes Lenglet (2,321), Sergi Roberto (2,284) and Leo Messi (2,280). Injuries earlier in the season denied Messi game time and forced him down to seventh on the list of minutes, curiously the same position he ended last season (4,023 minutes). 

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