The Barcelona trainer believes his former team-mate is in a class of his own, while also arguing the Catalans have more strings to their bow than ‘MSN’
Barcelona boss Luis Enrique believes Bayern Munich counterpart Pep Guardiola is the “number one” coach in the world.
Guardiola oversaw an unprecedented era of success during his four-year spell in charge of the Blaugrana, claiming a remarkable 14 trophies between 2008 and 2012.
Luis Enrique is now hoping to follow in his former team-mate’s footsteps by leading the club to a treble in his first season at the helm and the Asturian’s side are currently being favourably compared with Guardiola’s history-making line-up.
However, Luis Enrique does not believe he should be equated with Guardiola, claiming the Catalan is in a class all of his own – despite Bayern’s shock 3-1 Champions League loss at Porto on Wednesday.
“I still see Pep Guardiola as the number one coach in the world and that’s irrespective of the titles he has won,” the Barca boss told reporters on Friday.
“Pep is number one for his portrayal of attacking football, for his ability to do what he can do with any team in the world.”
Barca’s attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez have taken most of the plaudits for their fine form since the turn of the year and Luis Enrique feels lucky to have them.
However, the former Roma boss was quick to add that he is blessed with a squad brimming with world-class talent.
“Every coach would be happy to have Messi, Neymar and Suarez, but also having Sergio Busquets, Javier Mascherano, Gerard Pique, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Dani Alves …”
Luis Enrique then interrupted himself as he was naming every single member of his squad: “I hope I don’t forget a name! Otherwise I’ll be in the sh*t!”
Despite his jovial mood, the ex-Spain international admitted Barca have a very serious test on Saturday, when they go up against fourth-placed Valencia at Camp Nou.
Consequently, he was reluctant to entertain talk of a treble, particularly as the Blaugrana are just two points ahead of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga.
“There are still seven very complicated games to go, starting with Valencia,” he stated. “It will be good to have the support of our fans because we will need them.
“Valencia are a very well-organised team, a hard team, a team that know exactly what they are doing.
“It will be very difficult for us but I also believe it will be a very attractive game for the fans.
“There will be times when we’ll struggle but the spirit will be there, so we need the fans fully behind us as we are much stronger with their support.”
Unfortunately, Barca will not be able to count on Andres Iniesta, who suffered an injury in the 3-1 win at Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.
“Iniesta is better but he did not train on Friday, meaning that unless there is a miracle he will not be among those called upon for this game,” Luis Enrique added.