BARCELONA - Ernesto Valverde was sacked as coach even though Barcelona are on top of La Liga because the team needed an injection of momentum, president Josep Maria Bartomeu said on Tuesday at the presentation of new coach Quique Setien.
Former Real Betis coach Setien has signed a contract until June 2022 after Valverde was sacked on Monday despite winning back-to-back league titles and the 2018 Copa del Rey.
"We made a change now because we are halfway through the season and we needed some new momentum to face the final stretch of the season as we always have very big objectives," Bartomeu said.
"Even though the results were very good we knew that there was room for improvement in the team's play and we spoke to Valverde about this and in the last few days we had told him that the team needed to improve."
Barcelona romped to the league title in Valverde's first two seasons, finishing way ahead of nearest challengers Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.