Barcelona, Right To Part Ways With Luis Enrique

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I believe now is the right time for Luis Enrique to leave the club. It’s a step in the right direction.

In 2014 Luis Enrique was hired by Barcelona to replace Gerardo Martino after the Argentine failed to win a trophy in his first season. The appointment continues a tradition of in-house coaching appointments, represented in Pep Guardiola and the late Tito Vilanova.

Courtesy: CaughtOffSide

Fans were convinced that Enrique was the right candidate to take Barcelona to the next level. The former Barcelona captain proved his worth by winning a treble in his first season and Enrique has won eight trophies since taking over the mantle of leadership.

But things began to fall apart this season. Fans are beginning to question his philosophy. The team’s embarrassing exit at the hands of Juventus in the Champions League may have been the nail in the coffin.

Enrique announced he would be stepping down as Barcelona coach during his post-match press conference following a 6-1 win against Sporting Gijon. The former AS Roma said that not having enough time to rest was the reason for departing. But rumours had it that his contract would not be renewed by the club.

In my opinion, Enrique’s announcement was based on mutual consent.

Barcelona faithful are deeply concerned that club’s future isn’t bright under Enrique. Even though he brought in the likes of Paco Alcacer, André Gomes, Aleix Vidal, Jeremy Mathieu, Denis Suárez, Arda Turan, and Samuel Umtiti, many fans have questioned the quality of those players. They don’t believe these newcomers are capable of replacing the likes of Messi, Iniesta and Masscherano when those players retire.

Courtesy: Sports Mole

From a tactical point of view, nothing changed under Enrique. He plays almost the same kind of system that the team played under Guardiola.

Enrique said in his press conference that “I don’t rely too heavily on tactical know-how. Instead I focus on managing a group, managing egos. I strongly believe it is a full package. As a manager of a big club, the tactics, together with personality of the players, and their egos should be given the same level of priority.”

That approach has been recently criticised by fans, especially in big games away from home. Enrique likes playing out from the back, just like Guardiola did.

With that tactic you need a keeper that uses his foot very effectively. Ter Stegan fits that bill. However, the former Celta Vigo gaffer has not been be able to use those tactics very effectively. Whenever the keeper is put under intense pressure and tries passing the ball to his defenders that play destabilizes the entire back four. That often results in goals and helps explain why Barcelona has conceded a lot of goals.

Enrique has not been able to build a strong team that will last for years to come.

Enrique’s success should be attributed to superlative performances of the front trio of Messi, Suarez, and Neymar. But I also believe the defence is too fragile and the midfield has fallen below a standard expected from a Barcelona team.

In fairness, fans should be thankful for what Enrique has achieved during three years of leadership. The manager has won eight trophies and the club is in serious contention to win the league title this season.

So why, considering his tremendous achievements, has the club decided to part ways with Enrique? I think it’s because Enrique has not been able to attract big-name players. Many fans are worried that the club might be heading for difficult times.

Will Ernesto Valverde be named Barcelona’s next manager? (photo, Alchetron)

All in all, I believe now is the right time for Enrique to leave the club. It’s a step in the right direction.

It remains to be seen who will succeed Enrique. Atletico Bilbao manager, Ernesto Valverde, is the bookmakers’ favourite. Valverde had a brief spell at Barcelona (two seasons) as a player under Johan Cruyff. He has knowledge of the club and its culture.

But no matter who gets the job, that person has a big responsibility on his shoulder. Fans will be expecting a manager with the right attitude and mentality to take the team to the next level.

“The Chosen One” will be revealed in the next couple of weeks.


About Geoffrey Ofoegbu

I’m from Abuja, Nigera. I have passion for football (soccer) and enjoy writing articles about the clubs, managers, players, and anything connected with the game. It has always been my dream to be a sport columnist. Joining the team at TSC is a stepping stone to fulfilling that dream–launching a career in the sports industry. Sport of Expertise: Football, Basketball. Favorite Teams: Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Chelsea, Arsenal. Favorite Players: Ronaldo, Paul Pogba, Sergio Aguero, Alexis Sanchez, Sergio Ramos, Toni Kroos, David Silva, Yaya Toure, Antonio Valencia.

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