Luis Enrique this lunchtime. PHOTO: GERMÁN PARGA - FCB

Luis Enrique Martínez was presented as the new FC Barcelona manager today. And the former player and reserve team coach couldn’t be happier to be back. “This is a very special day. We are beginning the building of a new, exciting Barça” he told the media in a packed Auditori 1899. “I’m not afraid of this. It’s one of the happiest days of my life.”

The Asturian immediately got down to describing kind of Barça he hopes to deliver next season. “My team will attack, we’ll play attractive and effective football” he promised. “The kind of football that millions across the world have come to love - which means we need to defend well too. I’ll be laying our my plans to the players and talking to them so that they take them on board as their own. I don’t think I’ll need to impose very much and bark out orders, we’re in this together, though I’ll be demanding hard work”.

He then added that “the best thing is enjoying the training sessions and this lovely job we have, getting something out of each day we are at work. I’ll be looking for plenty of hunger from the players and they’ll have to show me that every day. Training sessions need to be intense. And I have no doubt that they will be. Players have to train hard in order to compete”.

The need to lead

Luis Enrique was asked to define what he feels a manager’s role should be. And he didn’t need to think twice about his answer. “A manager is a leader. He has to know how to deal with a group, to control their egos, to motivate them … And I believe I can do all that and many more positive things for this team. That’s the challenge I have ahead of me now”.

Neither Zubizarreta nor Luis Enrique wanted to dig too deep into the issue of exactly who will be playing for Barça in 2014/15. The Asturian preferred just to say that “we’ll try to strengthen ourselves in every position as well as we can, to make us competitive and to get everyone feeling excited about what we can do. This very afternoon we’ll start pooling our ideas together”.

One of the other priorities on his first day at the club was “to visit the new Masia. I have not seen it yet. And to check out my new office.” It is only three years since Luis Enrique stepped down as Barça B manager, yet there have been changes since then that he’ll need to get used to.

Bartomeu optimistic

President Josep Maria Bartomeu spoke about how pleased he was “to welcome home and old friend like Luis Enrique. He is capable and hard-working and gives us reason to feel optimistic and positive.” He added that when Luis Enrique left Barça B, he always knew it was not so much ‘goodbye’ as ‘see you later’.

Director of sport Andoni Zubizarreta explained why the now former Celta boss was the man he always wanted for the job. It is because “he knows our philosophy and we believe he’s fully capable. He’s the kind of person who likes to take on difficult challenges and who has plenty of energy.” But he also had a few words for former FCB manager Gerardo Martino, announcing that the Argentinian had already announced his decision to leave the club a few weeks before the news was made public.

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