Thursday 19 July 2018, 12:21

Luis Enrique: Spain’s football can evolve

  • ​Luis Enrique replaces Fernando Hierro as head coach of Spain

  • He insists Spain will maintain its playing style but with some changes

  • We pick out the keys to the method he himself outlined

Luis Enrique has been officially unveiled as La Roja’s new coach at an event organised by the Spanish Football Federation in which the Asturian coach explained the fundamentals of the project he is delighted to be undertaking.

“I’m very excited about this challenge and the possibility of ratcheting the team up a notch. I’ll be giving it everything I have,” the 48-year-old told the attending media. “I'm ready and really eager to win the competitions that await us. All I can say is, ‘Let’s go win them!’”

The president of the Federation, Luis Rubiales, explained that, after the dismissal of Julen Lopetegui and the resignation of his replacement Fernando Hierro after the team’s exit from the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, they bet everything on Luis Enrique. "He is the only coach with whom we got in touch. It’s been very straightforward because of his commitment and passion, and we’ll be doing everything we can to make him feel comfortable,” he said.

For his part, Jose Francisco Molina, the federation’s new technical director, has described Enrique as a “modern coach with a great work methodology”.

Luis Enrique’s method

Evolution not revolution “Let there be no doubt: we’re going to continue with the same style." The coach stated categorically that there would be no radical changes to the team’s playing style, insisting that the style founded and defined by [former Spain coach] Luis Aragones was what they should continue with.

That said, the new coach was clear that there would be changes. “The team can evolve. A player must be given weapons. The team has been a standard bearer, with everyone studying what we do… We’ll continue to play a possession game but with subtle variations to improve things.”

Tactical modifications “Tactically, there are a lot of things we can improve.” One of the objectives, as the coach himself explained, is to improve effectiveness in front of goal – a shortcoming the team has had in recent years, as was evident in Russia.

“Converting chances is the most difficult aspect. We have a lot of work to do with the players in this respect. We’ll come up against opponents who respect us and who will defend en masse. That’s where our work will come in – enabling our players to recognise those instances and overcome them.”

Psychology – fundamental to performance Just as he did when coaching at club level, Luis Enrique will have a psychologist, Joaquin Valdes, as part of his staff. “The psychologist is an option we give to the players. We privately seek to help them as much as possible to improve their performance,” he revealed.

Did you know...?

  • Luis Enrique played for Spain 66 times

  • He took part in three FIFA World Cups: USA 1994, France 1998 and Korea/Japan 2002

  • His coaching honours include: 1 UEFA Champions League, 1 FIFA Club World Cup, 2 Spanish League titles, 3 Copa del Rey titles, 1 UEFA Super Cup, 1 Spanish Super Cup, all with Barcelona

Next up for La Roja

  • 31 August: First squad announcement by Luis Enrique

  • 8 September: England v Spain: The fixture that will mark La Roja’s debut in the UEFA Nations League

  • 11 September: Spain v Croatia: UEFA Nations League fixture