The greats don't look for excuses


Football is a team sport and the coach must manage the group and set the rules. The coach is in charge of taking the reins and imposing limits. It's not an easy job but it's the price that comes with the job, something you can't escape if you don't want the dressing room to escape you. 

It's a challenge faced by all coaches, but it's true that at the biggest clubs like Barcelona knowing how to direct the orchestra requires many more skills than at other teams. Being part of Barça comes with a lot of hard work but it's also a privilege. Quique Setien landed the top job and, despite everything, is now part of the club's history. No one can take that away from him, regardless of the fact Barça could clearly have done better with him in charge. 

Not everything that went wrong would have been to do with him but when things don't go as you hoped, what you shouldn't do is look for excuses elsewhere -- especially in a public forum. For that reason, Setien's recent comments seemed unfortunate to me. To resort to excuses and to focus on the best player, I think is to shoot yourself in your foot if you want to coach a club of a certain size again in the future, where there are always strong characters in the dressing room. 

Because what was Setien's real problem? That Lionel Messi is difficult or that he and his staff were not capable of managing the level of demand that comes with these types of players? I think that's the key question. Setien was wrong to look for excuses outside and not look at himself, but what really concerns me is that this is a problem that's found too frequently at Barça. 

That's why I like Ronald Koeman's attitude so much. Beyond what's happening, he's showing that he's a coach with charisma and character. He's making decisions with the club in mind (which may later prove incorrect) but at least he's making it obvious that he's not looking for excuses despite the difficulty of the situation. He could use many things as justification for results, but what he's done is make big choices without shaking. You feel something's being built and that is something right now. 

No one is looking for guilt at the moment and that invites me to think that a positive evolution is afoot. That motivates me. Time will tell. 




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