Luis Enrique: "We have a team with a unique and special strike force"

"It's a profession that unfortunately I take home with me – you spend many nights thinking, 'X isn't working, Y ...' It's a very intense profession and it takes a lot out of you, but it's also exciting, it's got both sides of the coin"

Luis Enrique: "We have a team with a unique and special strike force"
Luis Enrique: "We have a team with a unique and special strike force"

"It's a profession that unfortunately I take home with me – you spend many nights thinking, 'X isn't working, Y ...' It's a very intense profession and it takes a lot out of you, but it's also exciting, it's got both sides of the coin"

Luis Enrique
© Getty Images #471955790

FC Barcelona's coach, Luis Enrique is ready to face the last week of the season. This Saturday they will play the Champions League final against Juventus. He talked about this match in UEFA's website, where he also assessed his first year as Barcelona coach, the performance of the team and the role of Xavi Hernández on his last year in the Catalan club:

Juventus

"Three seasons ago I was lucky enough to be the Roma manager. So for the last two years I have been following Italian football. At home I watch lots of Roma games and Juve games, as a fan ... I follow Italian football."

"I watched Juventus in recent years with Antonio Conte. They were a very hardworking team who I think played good football. Maybe they were unlucky in Europe, but they had the ability to go a lot further in the Champions League. They are the Italian team who have been playing at the highest level in recent years."

"So get ready for a final between two teams fighting for the ball. Juventus are able to shut down and play their own way without being punished. They can maintain possession. They are capable of counterattacking. I think they are a very well-rounded team. And I think you can see what the manager brings to the table."

Style

"We always tend to romanticise things in the past. No two teams are the same; every team has its own time."

"A coach's job is to get the best out of the players. On top of that, at Barcelona we want to do that in an attractive way, because our fans are used to watching good football and you can play good football in many ways."

"We need the ball and we want to have it. In most games – except, I think, against Bayern where the possession was quite even – we use the ball to dominate the match and we try to do that in the opposition half."

The season

"That's why the greatest thing about this season, in my opinion, is the fact we have a team with a unique and special strike force who have shown themselves willing and able to work for the rest of the team. To concede just 19 goals in 37 league games, you need everyone to work hard and work together, and to press as a unit and do whatever we decide to at any given moment."

"That requires hard work, which is what the players have produced, and it's been rewarded with the possibility of winning trophies. I find that very gratifying as a coach, and then obviously it's a joy to behold the individual quality up front when a player finishes things off in the box, which is the most difficult area."

Luis Enrique's vision as coach

"It's the coach who has the overall vision. When I decide who's in the team, the player's response might simply be 'that bastard didn't pick me', when maybe I haven't picked him because I'm thinking about the next match when he's going to play, so I don't want to risk him here, or I think it's the best thing for this particular match."

"It's a profession that unfortunately I take home with me – you spend many nights thinking, 'X isn't working, Y ...' It's a very intense profession and it takes a lot out of you, but it's also exciting, it's got both sides of the coin."

Xavi Hernández

"Xavi Hernández ... He was on the verge of leaving last summer but luckily he stayed. With Xavi now, it is the same as what happened with me and Frank Rijkaard ten years ago. You are no longer a leader on the pitch, although you may still be able to bring things to the table."

"In the end I'm glad I did it because I am proud to have done so and achieved what I have this season. Although the ideal of a team is to have players on the inside helping those coming from the outside."

Read the full interview here.