Former Barcelona boss Quique Setien said the talisman Lionel Messi was “tough to handle” as the Argentine star failed to find the back of the mesh again in Barca’s recent arduous La Liga draw.
Setien’s unfortunate six-month reign at Camp Nou ended this summer when Barcelona suffered a humiliating 8-2 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich. Setien has received some advice for his replacement Ronald Koeman as the Dutchman faces fighting his own in the early La Liga campaign.
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Koeman’s charges fell again on Saturday and only managed a 1-1 draw against a side from Alaves, who played the last half hour of the game with 10 men after Jota’s 62nd-minute dismissal.
In the draw, Barcelona are in 12th place in the league, nine points behind early leaders Real Sociedad and eight points behind arch-rivals Real Madrid.
Wantaway striker Messi, who tried to distance himself from the club in August, has only scored three goals so far this season – each from the penalty spot.
Recently, Setien said that Messi has a unique talent, but it is very difficult for coaches to use it effectively.
“I think Messi is the best ever,” Setien told El Pais.
“There have been other great players who have been great, but no one has had the continuity that boy has had over the years.
“Leo is hard to work with. Who am I to change him? When they have accepted him for who he has been for years and haven’t changed him.
“It’s something that is inherent in many athletes and that you see in the Michael Jordan documentary (‘The Last Dance’). You see things that you don’t expect. He’s very reluctant, but he lets you see things, that he wants. He doesn’t. ” I do not talk much. “
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After initially promising signs, pressure is mounting on Dutch coach Koeman after just two league wins this season and after reports of further internal rancor at the club after French striker Antoine Griezmann seemed to suggest to the media that Koeman wasn’t him at his best Play position.
Koeman and Barcelona will have another opportunity to stop their downward momentum when they welcome Dynamo Kiev to a UEFA Champions League tie at Camp Nou on Wednesday.