Barcelona look set to miss out on the Liga title this season with Real Madrid in pole position but Quique Setien does not think that should cost him his job.
Under-fire Barcelona manager Quique Setién expects to remain in place as Camp Nou coach next season despite it looking unlikely he will guide them to LaLiga success after Real Madrid’s nine-game winning streak leaves Zinedine Zidane’s two points from the title and with a superior record in this campaign’s Clásico encounters.
Setién replaced Ernesto Valverde in January and was appointed on a two-and-a-half-year deal, with his possession-based brand of football thought to be a good fit for the club after fans grew frustrated with his predecessor.
But the former Real Betis coach has not been able to inspire the kind of improvement some hoped for, while draws with Celta Vigo and Atlético Madrid at the end of June look set to cost them in the title race.
Barça are four points adrift of Real Madrid, who will clinch the title on Thursday if they beat Villarreal at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano.
Club icon Xavi has been frequently linked with a return to Barça as coach, though Setién believes it will still be him at the helm next term.
Of course, I see myself training Barca next season,” he told reporters. “I have already experienced this before.
“The reality is that the expectations one has haven’t been achieved, or not yet, but the work done is what must be valued.
“This is what I understand, or what I would like to see assessed. Of course, I think about next year’s continuity.”
Regarding the seemingly imminent confirmation of failure in LaLiga, he added: “I take my share of the responsibility, but not all of it.
“Making that assessment of finding a culprit always focuses on the coach. I don’t feel that we did things so badly, drawing three games [since the resumption]. More merit should go to Madrid, who have won every game.”
Luis Suárez has already effectively accepted defeat in the title race publicly, though Setien is retaining faith Madrid will slip up.
“That is his opinion. It is not yet [over] because anything can happen, but it is difficult,” Setien continued.
“It requires a team that has won every game [since the season resumed] to lose. We have had three draws that make this difference.
“Obviously Madrid have done better because they have won all eight games. It is possible that a circumstance can arise [where Barca can win the title]. We will fight until the end.”