Spain national team coach, Luis Enrique, has advised football fans against drawing lines between teams and coaches, especially between La Roja and Barcelona.
Image: Luis Enrique
Speaking during a press conference at Benito Villamarin (Real Betis) on Sunday, he expressed sadness that Spaniards are comparing his Barca treble winners to the national team.
Enrique said he is optimistic ahead of Monday’s UEFA Nations League match against Gareth Southgate’s England, adding that La Roja are hungry for a place in the last four and must grab all three points against the Three Lions.
With this in mind, Lucho insists that the Spanish national team is quite different from Barca’s class of 2015.
‘I see nothing to compare,’ he said. ‘There are no similarities. They’re all different individuals so there’s no sense in comparing teams.
‘In football, every season is unique. Coaches change and good or bad things happen to teams, players, coaches and club management…I don’t think it’s fair enough to compare teams and coaches.’
Enrique, 48, worked with Barcelona B team in 2008 before switching to Roma (2011-12) and Celta (2013-14). On his return to Barca as their first team manager (2014-17), the former midfielder and forward won the treble in his first year and the double in his second, including La Liga (2), Copa del Rey (3), UEFA Champions League (1), UEFA Super Cup (1) and FIFA Club World Cup in 2015, among others.
Enrique’s first match against England as coach of Spanish national team ended 2-1 in favor of the visitors at Wembley Stadium. Since his appointment, he has played three matches and won all, but Spanish fans are hungry for international trophies, especially the World Cup, which Spain won at South Africa 2010 after beating Netherlands 1-0 in the extra time.
With high expectations for a win against England although a draw is all they need to finish top in a group that includes Croatia, Enrique said his team “is not thinking about other results.”
‘We are going to focus on controlling and winning the game,’ he said. ‘Winning is the objective and nothing else.’
The former Real Madrid and Barcelona player also expressed doubts about the players or tactics Southgate will adopt but showered praise on the coach’s work.
‘I like him [Southgate] as a coach,’ he added. ‘He interprets the game very well and tries to play the ball. The way he adapts to his players is amazing—something we should try doing.’
‘[On Southgate’s new contract] That shows the level of confidence he enjoys from the English Football Association (FA). I don’t miss his press conferences because it helps me with my English…It’s like learning from an English teacher for free.’