Quique Setien was a surprise choice when he returned to management as Unai Emery’s replacement at Villarreal. The Cantabrian coach had been out of the game for more than two years after being sacked by Barcelona in August of 2020 following an 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich.
Just four games into his spell, he is already facing calls for his dismissal again. In his first home match in La Liga, Villarreal fans were heard chanting ‘Quique vete ya’ – ‘Quique go now’.
The Yellow Submarine fell to a limp 2-0 defeat to Real Mallorca on Sunday evening, his third defeat in four matches. The other two came against Lech Poznan (3-0) and Athletic Club (1-0), while the draw was against Hapoel Beer Sheva (2-2).
Sport carried some the quotes from his post-match press conference.
“I really am a man of faith. People have been angry. And he shows his discomfort because we should have won. It’s normal for him to get angry. This can happen. It is not an exact science. We have to improve things. We’ve only been here 8 days, we have not trained too much to organize ourselves better. It is a heavy blow. The team will improve, the break will be good for us.”
In all of Villarreal’s games under Setien so far, they have controlled the ball but looked stale in attack and vulnerable in defence.
“I did not get a good feeling. We have not been lucid, nor have we had the necessary inspiration to overcome the two defensive lines of Mallorca. We controlled but we lacked depth. We rushed into the second half after the goal.”
Setien is of course right that he will need time to implement his methods, but a defeat to Espanyol this midweek could bring the criticism to fever pitch. If Villarreal suffer too damaging a start to Setien’s period, the situation may enter a dynamic that Setien cannot reverse.