La Liga End of Season Awards: Manager of the Year – Quique SetiénMay 25, 2018
This award could have gone to a number of La Liga managers. Ernesto Valverde for coming within one game of going a full season unbeaten, and many may feel he is hard done by in not winning this ‘title’ especially considering the pressure he was under.
Then there is Pablo Machín, whose Girona team gained promotion into the Spanish top flight for the first time and finished ninth, just short of the European places.
Yet, Quique Setién’s first season at Real Betis has been nothing short of miraculous. He was already being praised for his work with Las Palmas, having took them from relegation to 11th when he took over the Canary Island club.
Real Betis are in Europe
The Spaniard followed that up with 14th-placed finish last season and it is no surprise they have dropped back to the Segunda Division since he left.
Yet, the 59-year-old’s debut campaign at the Estadio Benito Villamarín outfit most definitely tops those seasons, as he took a Real Betis side that finished 15th in 2017 to earning a place in the Europa League.
Not only was it their highest position in 13 years, having dropped to the LaLiga123 twice during that time, but they lost their star midfielder, Dani Ceballos, to Real Madrid for €17 million.
Setién revitalises Betis
Wise investment has been key though, as the arrivals of Ryad Boudebouz and Victor Camarasa steadied the midfield, while striker Sergio León has netted 11 times in the league since his €3.5 million move.
Former Barcelona winger Cristian Tello and ex-Manchester City defensive midfielder Javi Garcia were two more players acquired relatively cheaply and have repaid the Setién’s faith with consistent performances.
Then there is the revitalisation of 36-year-old Joaquín, who flourished and was arguably Betis’ player of the season, despite his age.
His tweaking has earned Real Betis their best finish in 13 years and their first participation in European competition since the 2013-14 season.
Calm before the storm?
While Setién has been impressed after just a year in the dugout in Seville and is deservedly our manager of the year, his greatest test will come in the forthcoming campaign.
Why you ask?
Their last Champions League expedition also saw them finish 14th in La Liga, while their Europa League journey with mixed with relegation to the Segunda Division.
History will be against Setién next year, but keep the stars, invest well and the Spaniard will be in the mix to retain our Manager of the Year award.