Barcelona manager Quique Setien accused his players of passing for the sake of it following their 2-0 defeat at Valencia.
The defending Spanish champions suffered their fourth league defeat this season and first under new boss Setien who succeeded the much-maligned Ernesto Valverde.
Valencia 2-0 Barcelona in numbers…
- Possession: Valencia 26%-74% Barcelona
- Shots: Valencia 8-14 Barcelona
- Touches: Valencia 444-1,009 Barcelona
- Attempted passes: Valencia 297-867 Barcelona
- This was Quique Setien’s first defeat as Barça manager, in his third game.
Barça thoroughly dominated the game; Setien’s men controlled 74% possession whilst attempting 867 passes compared to Valencia’s 297, they also had 14 shots to the hosts’ eight but it wasn’t enough to leave the Mestalla with a result.
Maxi Gómez, who missed a penalty early in the game, struck twice in the second half and former Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista had a goal disallowed for a push on Sergio Busquets following a corner.
This is the first real setback under Setien who oversaw a 1-0 debut win over 10-man Granada, after Valverde had been relieved of his duties after losing to Atletico Madrid in the recent Spanish Super Cup semi-final.
Real Madrid, level on points with Barcelona, can assume the lead of the championship if they avoid defeat against Real Valladolid on Sunday. But as the post-mortem of this loss begins Setien feels his men are not yet in tune to what he demands.
Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.
‘The truth is we were not very good,” he said.
“Especially in the first half. We could not find a way to break them down. There were things that we have not understood properly and Valencia took advantage of our errors.’
“It was not an attitude problem. We were not well positioned. We played a lot of passes without any sense to them, just for the sake of playing them.
‘They are still not understanding things or perhaps we are not explaining them well.”