Who is Quique Setien? Manager who was linked with Barcelona is now in the frame for Watford hotseat

by Charlie Zazzera / 03 December 2019, 16:28

Watford reappointed Quique Sánchez Flores 31 minutes after sacking Javi Gracia in September but they have now gone a remarkable 48 hours in their pursuit of a new Head Coach. 

Despite making 11 managerial changes, The Pozzo’s have made Hayden Mullins (16/1) their first caretaker manager, and the ex-Portsmouth and West Ham man will take charge of their game against Leicester on Wednesday. 

This is not to say the Hertfordshire club haven't been working hard to try to and replace Flores, Adam Leventhal (The Athletic) has reported they were turned down by ex-Bayern Leverkusen boss Roger Schmidt and held unsuccessful talks with ex-Bilbao manager Jose Angel Ziganda.

After Chris Hughton, Mark Hughes and Sam Alladyce have all headed the next Watford manager market previously, there’s a new favourite in town and he looks a lot more like a ‘Watford type’ appointment…

Introducing Quique Setién

The Spanish manager was born in Santander and became a legend after playing over 374 matches for his boy-hood club, as well as stints at Atletico, Logrones and Levante.

He was a central midfielder nicknamed El Maestro, scored 95 career goals and became a professional beach footballer for Spain after retirement from the grass game.

Managerial experience 

His first management job was with his beloved Racing before moving around to other lower league Spanish sides Poli Ejido and Logrones as well as bizarrely managing the Equatorial Guinea national team.

His first real success was at Lugo where he got the team promoted to the second division for the second time in the club’s history, and then kept them up in the next two seasons. 

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Could Quique Setien become Watford's third head coach of the season?

He then got his big break when he was appointed the Las Palmas manager. He took over with the club only winning one game and in the relegation zone -  sound familiar? - then after he galvanised the team, they started getting good results and went on a run of form including six wins in seven which helped them finish 11th. 

The opportunity of managing Real Betis was too good to resist and he took over as their manager in 2017, where he could show the world what he’s about on a bigger stage.

In his first season with the Seville side he beat Real Madrid at The Bernabeu and finished sixth, qualifying for the Europa League. In his second season he beat AC Milan, Atletico, Barcelona and Real away again, and reached the Copa Del Rey semi-finals, however a 10th place finish was classed as regression and he left in the summer.

READ: The story behind Quique Setien's Real Betis exit

Identity

The most exciting thing about the maverick manager is his philosophy: dynamic attacking football is more important to Setién than the result.

He said he would have chopped a finger of to play under Johan Cruyff and has had his football style compared to Pep Guardiola, with many Barcelona fans wanting him to become their new manager last summer. 

The keen chess player, plays 4-3-3 which sees his keeper playing out from the back, passing to either centre-back or the holding midfielder. Once they get the ball in transition the two attacking midfielders have license to start/join the attack feeding a target man and the two widemen.

He has previously praised John Stones and Napoli’s footballing style and his ‘high-risk’ tactics have seen him oversee games finishing 2-2, 3-6, 4-4, 4-0 and 0-5.  

Verdict

This would be a massive coup for Watford and an appointment in which the Hornets fans would be buzzing, with the hope that his style would bring back the ‘Sexy-Football’ brand of football seen under Gianfranco Zola and Slavisa Jokanovic.

Setien has experience in taking over a club in the relegation zone and keeping them up, and if Watford do go down he knows he can get the best out of lower level footballers.

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