Real Betis' win at Barcelona would make Johan Cruyff proud - Quique Setien
Real Betis boss Quique Setien has said Johan Cruyff would have been proud of the way his side cut through La Liga leaders Barcelona on Sunday -- but played down the possibility of one day replacing Ernesto Valverde at Camp Nou.
Betis became the first side to win in the league at Barca in over two years -- a run stretching 42 games -- in a seven-goal thriller. Setien's side managed to beat the Catalans by playing them at their own game: pressing high, playing out from the back and creating chance after chance in the final third.
It was a performance which bore comparisons with the style of football Barca legend Cruyff used during his managerial career, a philosophy which has become even more synonymous with the club during the last decade.
"I'm sure he would," Setien told a news conference when asked if Cruyff, who died in 2016, would have been proud of Betis' display. "Everyone that really likes good football -- that tries to see things beyond the result -- I'm sure they would have liked it. That's why a lot of people follow and enjoy Betis.
"Those that are involved feel very proud. For the people that really love football, this was a game to remember. And not just [because of] Betis, but also [because of] Barca, with spectacular players like [Jordi] Alba, [Lionel] Messi, [Luis] Suarez... [Cruyff] would be happy even though his team lost."
Betis led 2-0 at the break and managed to hold off a Barca comeback in the second half, with Messi scoring twice on his return from injury, to win 4-3. They received widespread praise for the manner of their performance but Setien says they still have a long way to go to hit Barcelona's heights.
"The supporters here [at Barca] have been watching this style of football for many years," he added. "We are just apprentices but we're working on it and we are improving every day.
"There are a lot of concepts we're trying to bring through, even though sometimes things don't work out. We feel very proud on days like today to be positively appreciated not just by Barca's fans, but by everyone that likes football."
Former Las Palmas coach Setien, 60, has been touted as a potential Barca boss given the way he has Betis playing. The Seville-based side are 12th in the league but have improved dramatically since he was appointed in 2017 and have now won at Camp Nou and Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu -- as well as the Sani Siro -- in the last year.
"I am really happy with today's win," he said when asked if he'd like to coach Barcelona one day. "This is a huge slap on the back for what we're doing because a lot of people aren't sure about this manner of playing and [this performance] helps us to keep growing.
"Everything else... it's true, I have admired [Barcelona's] type of football all my life, ever since I was a player and I came here to play and never touched the ball. But despite this defeat, Barcelona still have a great coach [Valverde] and I am really happy where I am at the moment."