Under-pressure Barcelona boss Quique Setien insists it has “never crossed my mind” that Saturday’s Champions League match against Napoli could be his last at the Camp Nou.
After losing their LaLiga crown to Real Madrid all the attention at Barca has been on Setien, who only took charge six months ago.
Setien replaced Ernesto Valverde in January but despite inheriting a side who were top of the league, Barca finished five points behind Zinedine Zidane’s men.
They were also eliminated at the quarter-final stage of the Copa del Rey prompting talk that former Manchester United defender Laurent Blanc was waiting in the wings to take over.
But ahead of the second leg of their Round of 16 tie with Napoli, Setien refused to contemplate that this maybe his final game in charge.
“The reality is that it has never crossed my mind that this is my last game,” he told reporters, cited by Marca. “We have prepared the game thoroughly. We are going to face everything to Portugal with the same energy.”
“We have improved many things. We have lacked continuity in doing those things that we do well. This is a process that is always there. You do not always face the same rivals, everything varies. We can see in some circumstances that sometimes things are not done well.
“The identity has not been lost. We have all heard about the Barça DNA and the club’s philosophy, another thing is the nuances of each coach.
“Since we arrived we have tried to recover certain things that we understand that Barça represents. We have achieved many things. We are happy about some aspects of the game, other aspects are damaging us. We keep trying to improve every day.”
Xavi in waiting
Xavi is widely expected to take on the Barca hot-seat at some stage in his career and he has signalled that intention on numerous occasions.
However, the Diario Sport report claims he may not be prepared to work under the current set-up and could remain in Qatar with his team Al Sadd.
That could leave an opening for Blanc, if president Josep Maria Bartomeu decides to axe Setien this summer after just six months in charge.
The former United central defender is said to be a name who is becoming more popular at the Camp Nou. And suggestions are that he could take the reigns for a year until Xavi agrees to a return to Catalonia.
Blanc, 54, played for Barcelona in the 1996-97 campaign.
As a manager he has won four Ligue 1 titles – one with Bordeaux and three with PSG – and won 15 trophies in total.