Riqui Puig praises Setién and thanks Valverde

Barcelona’s players celebrating the lone goal against Granada in matchday 20 of La Liga. // MIGUEL RUIZ/FCB

Riqui Puig, who had his first La Liga minutes this season in Quique Setién’s first game in charge only had good words to say about his new manager, and no bad words against now former manager, Ernesto Valverde.

Sunday night, Riqui Puig got his first La Liga minutes this season, as Barcelona hosted matchday 20, where Granada paid the Camp Nou a visit. The 20-year-old certainly did impress, by playing a huge part in Barcelona’s lone goal, and showing immense confidence and decision-making, both on and off the ball.

After the game, which ended 1-0 in Barcelona’s favor, the youngster reflected on the game environment, which was very different to what he was used to at the Estadi Joan Gamper, where Barcelona’s B-team play their games.

“The ambience [here] is much different than it is at the Gamper. I have to say ‘thank you’ to Quique, who has given me this opportunity,” Puig told Barça TV.

Barcelona’s loan goal was a result of great build-up play from the team, and pressing from the front. That is the consensus among the Barcelona faithful, and the midfielder agrees.

“Granada had started well [in the second half] with a shot at the post, we had been suffering a little bit, and Quique gave me the opportunity to play. I was able to recover the ball and we scored the goal. It was beautiful and collective build-up play [that led to the goal],” he explained.

The youngster only had good words to say about Barcelona’s new manager, who in the past has managed Real Betis and Las Palmas, among other teams.

“I have to keep working hard to get more chances [with the first team], but if I have to go down to the B-team, I’ll continue fighting for when Quique calls me up [again],” the 20-year-old assured, before praising Setién.

“Setién is a manager that is clear with what he wants. He told me to look for the spaces, just after Granada went down to 10 men [due to Germán Sánchez’ red card]. He’s a manager who’s very close [to the players], and tells you what he wants,” the player said.

However, Puig also made it clear that he has no issues with Ernesto Valverde, who gave him his Liga debut last season, against SD Huesca, in a 0-0 stalemate in matchday 32.

“I respect Valverde, and I have no reason to reproach him. On the contrary: he gave me my debut,” the La Masia product said about now former manager Ernesto Valverde.