Quique Setien took time out to explain why he started Martin Braithwaite over Antoine Griezmann for Friday’s La Liga clash against Sevilla.
The Barcelona boss made five changes for the game at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium, including leaving Griezmann on the bench and bringing in Braithwaite in attack alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
Setien spoke to El Chiringuito after the match about his team selection.
“I chose to start Griezmann on the bench because we wanted Braithwaite’s speed on the break. Ansu Fati was also an option, but I have to make decisions before and during the game, and this is how it worked out.”
Barcelona created chances against Sevilla but could not find a way past Tomáš Vaclík in the hosts’ goal. The disappointing draw means the title race is now wide open with just eight games left to play.
Setien’s side are three points clear of Real Madrid in second place. However, a victory for Los Blancos over Real Sociedad in their next game would see them move level on points but above Barca in the table courtesy of a better head-to-head record.
Braithwaite Struggles at Sevilla
Braithwaite has looked lively since La Liga restarted and scored his first Barcelona goal in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Real Mallorca. Yet he failed to make an impact against Sevilla out on the left side of the Barcelona attack.
Setien replaced the Dane with seven minutes of the tie remaining with midfielder Arthur, but the change did little to improve Barca’s attacking play in the closing stages.
Griezmann, who has struggled in 2020 and has not scored in La Liga since February, replaced Arturo Vidal on 77 minutes but also could not muster a winning goal for the visitors.
What Next for Barcelona?
Barcelona now head home for a game against Athletic on Tuesday. Setien will demand more cutting edge from his team against a side that has already beaten Barca twice this season.
The Basque team ran out 1-0 winners on the opening day of the season in August and also knocked Barca out of the Copa del Rey with a stoppage-time goal in February.
Barcelona scored six goals in their first two games back since La Liga restarted but were left frustrated against Sevilla despite Luis Suarez making his first start in the league since January.
Captain Lionel Messi was also chasing his 700th career goal but could not find the back of the net in a result that has dealt a blow to the club’s hopes of retaining their league title.