Football News

Why Quique Setien is ’embarrassed’ by the spotlight on his Barcelona assistant

By CJ Smith

Published: 12:41, 7 March 2020 | Updated: 12:28, 20 September 2022

Quique Setien says he’s ’embarrassed’ by the focus on assistant Eder Sarabia’s outburst during Barcelona’s El Clasico defeat to Real Madrid. 

The Blaugrana fell to a 2-0 loss against their eternal rivals on Sunday thanks to goals from Vinicius Jr and Mariano Diaz, surrendering top spot in La Liga to Zinedine Zidane’s men in the process.

However, one of the game’s biggest talking points was came courtesy of cameras honing in on Sarabia, 39, picking out a number of Barca players for some heavy criticism.

What is Eder Sarabia claimed to have said during El Clasico?

  • On Pique: “S***, this is s***. These f****** long balls.”
  • On Griezmann: “Put it in Griezmann, no! Softer!”
  • On Arthur: “Again Arthur, again… f***ing …”
  • On Semedo: “He doesn’t do anything that he should do.”

*Translated quotes via Daily Mail

Eder is the son of Athletic Bilbao striker Manu Sarabia, who once played alongside Setien, and first coached under the current Barcelona boss while at Las Palmas.

Sarabia’s current role is said to involve taking charge of coaching set-pieces from both an offensive and defensive standpoint. He is also played his part in helping the team passing the ball out from the back, with the idea of using the goalkeeper as an extra player.

Setien has moved to back his assistant, suggesting television broadcasters should cease using cameras on a team’s dugout.

“It is a bit embarrassing that it becomes news and has a dimension like the one it has acquired,” he said.

“That is embarrassing, that the media use a camera that is permanently following you on the bench. It is something that should be eradicated. It is something that should end.

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“You can’t spend all day with your hand over your mouth. I don’t have to force myself to cover my mouth. It’s unfortunate that these things happen.”

Setien has been joined by a large section of Barcelona fans who appear to agree that Sarabia’s actions on the sidelines are normal. Voting in a poll conducted by Spanish TV outlet Gol, 76 per cent of Barcelona supporters had no problems with Sarabia compared to just nine per cent believing they were excessive. A further 15 per cent believed Sarabia was being a “show-off”.

“You have to learn to control yourself”

Although Setien has backed Sarabia, the Spaniard did admit his assistant needs to learn some self-control in order to maintain Barcelona’s public image.

“It has affected me a lot,” he added. “The first thing I think about is the club and the club’s image. It must be a clean image – you have to take care of it.

“It is a topic that worries me a lot. It is something very important to me. You can criticise us because we make wrong the changes, because we set the team up wrong, for whatever, but not for our behaviour.

“You have to understand people and moments. Not everyone is the same. Eder is a kid who has a great temperament, which for many things is phenomenal. But you have to learn to control yourself.

“These situations are more and more sporadic, but it’s something we don’t like. It is no excuse that these situations are seen on the benches.

“It is an issue that Eder is trying to solve. He is a young kid, an impulsive kid, who has a lot of energy. But we are on the bench of a club you represent and the behaviour should be faultless.”

The passionate voice to Setien’s more calming nature, this isn’t the first time Sarabia has found himself in the limelight due to his actions on the sideline.

Throughout his coaching career so far, Sarabia has been sent to the stands on six occasions and missed 10 games through bans since he linked up with Setien, though he is yet to face punishment at Barcelona.