Messi struck at the 76th minute to pick up a cagy competition at the Camp Nou and averted the much-anticipated launching of Setien’s new age is becoming something of a damp squib.
With the success, Barca also went back to the top of the Spanish League on goal difference, after rivals Real Madrid had temporarily claimed first place after their win over 24 hours ago.
“I have seen a lot of things from the team now I want to view,” said Setien.
“But I saw some of these against Atletico (last weekend) since Barca was doing great things for several years.”
The end result might have been different had Granada not spurned the possibilities when they had a chance to restore the parity.
If Granada’s Yan Eteki had not struck the post with just more than 20 minutes left or their central defender German Sanchez not was sent off for a needless second yellow card shortly after the game may have ended in a draw.
The additional man was the increase Barca needed and Messi duly poked home his 17th goal in 21 games this year following great work by Arturo Vidal, Antoine Griezmann and the 20-year-old Riqui Puig.
Setien stated last week that if he would make one guarantee, it had been that Barcelona would play decent football while he’s in control and although few could argue that this was a transformative screen after the sacking of Ernesto Valverde, there were surely some encouraging signs.
The passing was quicker, the pressing greater and Messi spent most of the game playing down the centre, with Griezmann on the left and Ansu Fati, another kid, on the right.
Setien maintained on Saturday he wouldn’t go home happy after winning and playing poorly but a 1-0 victory gets his tenure off to a positive start and, with Real Madrid showing no indication of stuttering, he could barely afford anything less.
His team had 83 percent ownership in the first half but odds weren’t as straightforward and, as it had been under Valverde, almost everything went through Messi. His driving conduct teed up Fati, who shot, and then a cutting reverse pass set Alba off but Fati failed to complete in the back post.
Messi won back the ball on the floor and then nipped past two players. He snapped wide at the conclusion of a fluid group move and missed from two free-kicks.
Vidal has always harried and when he won back the ball in the second half, Barca had a four against two. However, Messi’s pass was thick and the angle for Vidal became overly severe.
The game drifted and tension grew but two minutes proved crucial. First Eteki’s shot was kept out only from the article as he drove hard beyond the right hand of Ter Stegen.
Then, less than five minutes later, Granada were reduced to ten men after German picked up another yellow card for a late hack Messi. It left Granada needing to endure 21 minutes and they just made it through eight.
Puig, on for Ivan Rakitic, regained possession at the corner before Messi picked the ball up centrally. In a flash, he played Griezmann, who discovered Vidal, whose swivelled a movie back in the course of Messi and he poked a finish into the corner.