Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has reportedly approved Mauricio Pochettino as Quique Setien’s replacement in the wake of their 8-2 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich. The La Liga giants were thumped by their Bundesliga counterparts on a chastening night. And club president Josep Maria Bartomeu is now primed to cut Setien loose.
Barcelona only hired Setien as their manager back in January, choosing to name him as a replacement for Ernesto Valverde.
But that decision has backfired, with the club now enduring their first trophyless season since the 2013/2014 campaign.
Barcelona were put to the sword by a ruthless Bayern side, with Hans-Dieter Flick’s side running riot over in Portugal.
Thomas Muller and Philippe Coutinho both scored braces for the German side, with Ivan Perisic, Serge Gnabry, Joshua Kimmich and Robert Lewandowski also on target.
Barcelona did strike through a David Alaba own-goal and Luis Suarez strike but the evening still ranks as one of their worst-ever.
Now, Setien is primed to be sacked.
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And Catalan newspaper Sport say Messi has already approved Pochettino as the next manager of the Nou Camp outfit.
Pochettino has been out of work since October, when he was brutally axed by Tottenham despite steering them to the Champions League final mere months previously.
And club president Bartomeu is now set to bring the former Spurs boss in, believing him to be the right man to replace Setien at this moment in time.
Pochettino is said to be somewhat reluctant about taking over at Barcelona given their will be new presidential elections next term.
But Messi has reportedly been doing his best to persuade the 48-year-old to take over at the club.
Meanwhile, speaking after Barcelona’s Champions League exit to Bayern, Setien appeared resigned to his fate and admitted the evening had been a horrendous experience.
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“It’s a tremendously painful defeat. They scored more goals that they merited,” Setien told Movistar.
“We started pretty well but the power of the opponents, in many phases of the play, overran us.
“I’m not going to talk about what is needed at the club. I’ve been here for just a few months.
“If Gerard Pique says that it’s time for big changes there’s going to be importance to his words.
“It’s time for us to review and take the decisions which are needed for the future.
“I think that right now it’s too soon to be talking about whether I stay at the club or not.
“The reality is that it doesn’t depend on me. It’s worth all of us working out what’s important and considering a wide range of things which correspond to a defeat of this importance and which is so painful.”
It was the first time since April 1951 that Barcelona had lost a match by six-goals.
And not since April 1946, when they lost 8-0 to Sevilla, have they shipped eight in a single match.
The result means Barcelona have crashed out of the Champions League in the quarter-finals for a fourth time in the last five seasons.