Barca coach Setien agrees with Liverpool's Klopp on coronavirus
BARCELONA – Barcelona coach Quique Setien has echoed Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp in saying football managers should not be asked their opinion on the impact of the coronavirus.
Klopp was widely praised this week for questioning why people with no medical background should be expected to weigh in on the health crisis, which has claimed over 3,300 lives and led to major sports events being postponed or played without spectators.
“I think he gave an extraordinary answer, the reality is that I have dedicated my life to football and so has he (Klopp), I don't know what value my opinion has when I know nothing about this situation,” Setien told a news conference on Friday.
“There are much more competent people out there who can talk about this issue, it's as if people want to know everything but I don't understand these questions, I guess people feel they have to ask something.”
Valencia's Champions League fixture at home to Atalanta next week will be played without spectators as will both legs of Getafe's Europa League tie with Inter Milan, although Barca are yet to be affected by the virus.
For now, Barca's last-16 second leg match with Napoli is to go ahead as normal and Setien said he hopes the game is played at a full stadium but will accept whatever authorities decide.
“I once played a match without fans as a player and it's sad because the motivation you get from the atmosphere at a game is very important. But we will have to listen to whatever the authorities say,” he added.
“If they decide that (playing without spectators) that is the best measure to take, then we will have to oblige.”
Setien was speaking ahead of his side's La Liga game at home to Real Sociedad on Saturday, their first fixture since losing 2-0 to Real Madrid last Sunday and surrendering top spot to their rivals.
There was more trouble for Setien after the game as his assistant Eder Sarabia was caught on camera fiercely criticising some of the Barca players, leading the coach to apologise to the squad for the antics of his number two.
Yet Setien said he was relaxed about his relationship with the Barca squad.
“We are delighted with the dressing room we have found here. There are no problems. I thought it would be more difficult than it is. The players accept everything with an extraordinary attitude,” he added.
Setien's side were dealt another setback on Friday with the news midfielder Arthur Melo had injured his ankle, joining Ousmane Dembele, Luis Suarez and Sergi Roberto in missing the game with Sociedad.Reuters