Xavi: Managing Barca no problem – I know what Messi is like

first_imgBarcelona legend Xavi says he would be up to the challenge of managing former team-mates like Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Sergio Busquets at the club.Current Barca boss Ernesto Valverde is under pressure at Camp Nou. Despite winning La Liga last season, their Champions League collapse at Liverpool has left a sour taste and they have started the new campaign in disastrous form.They hit a new low with a 2-0 defeat at newly-promoted Granada on Saturday, and speculation has begun to circulate suggesting Valverde’s days in the job are numbered. Xavi, long tipped as a future coach, is one man whose name has been mentioned. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Time for another transfer? Giroud’s Chelsea spell set to end like his Arsenal career The 39-year-old former midfielder is currently manager of Al-Sadd in Qatar. His side have won all three of their league fixtures this season, scoring 13 goals in the process, and are in the semi-finals of the Asian Champions League.But Xavi is not thinking of the role as an audition for the Barca job, though the Camp Nou hotseat is one he would seemingly like to fill.“I don’t know if it will be a bridge to Barca,” he told Catalan newspaper Ara. “The only thing that worries me now is doing well here, winning titles and making mistakes in some aspects to learn for the future.“It wouldn’t be a problem [to manage former team-mates]. I know what Leo is like, and Luis [Suarez], Busquets, Jordi [Alba], [Gerard] Pique or Sergi [Roberto].“I know how they train, their capacity for leadership, I can tell if they are sad or angry. I hope as a coach I could have three, five, eight or 10 players that I already knew and that I already had a good relationship with.“[Messi] is a player who, if you convince him, he can even be a brilliant defender. He has physical and mental speed. He has everything. If you convince him to run, what will the others do? They will run twice as much.”Ernesto Valverde Barcelona 2019-20Saturday’s defeat to Granada came after Barca were lucky to escape with a draw at Borussia Dortmund, in the first game of their Champions League campaign.The harrowing European defeats to Liverpool and Roma in the past two seasons weigh heavily over the club and Valverde, but with bad form now spilling over into domestic matters, many fans are losing patience.Some have pointed to the underwhelming performances of new signing Frenkie de Jong, who has generally been played in a more advanced role than for the Netherlands and previous club Ajax.“The problem in the midfield is that nobody is doing any defensive work, so they suffer when they have to retreat,” Xavi said.“The coach is very important, but without the players there is nothing to do.”last_img read more

‘Klopp’s boisterous behaviour not for show’

first_imgJames Milner believes Jurgen Klopp’s exuberant touchline antics are part of an authentic package that helps drive Liverpool forward.The Reds triumphed in the Champions League for their maiden trophy under manager Klopp last season and have won their opening eight Premier League games this term to stir hopes of a first top-flight title since 1990.Routinely challenging for major silverware makes for a significant improvement from where Liverpool were when Klopp took over in October 2015, the club then languishing in 10th. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Time for another transfer? Giroud’s Chelsea spell set to end like his Arsenal career Animated celebrations and sideline theatrics have gained him admirers and critics while becoming a hallmark of his managerial make-up, but midfielder Milner insists the behaviour is genuine.”The biggest thing with the manager is that what you see is what you get,” Milner told Liverpool’s official website.”He doesn’t have one front for the cameras and then he’s completely different with the players.”He’s honest with the players and he lives every minute of it. He’s on the side and he’s bouncing around, he wants to be out there. That energy’s big for us when we’re down.”He seems to judge it right, when to put an arm round the shoulder after a game.”If we haven’t played well or something he knows what to say at half-time, or if you need a rocket he’ll give you that as well.”He seems to judge those situations very well.”James Milner LiverpoolNow 33, ex-England international Milner is the most senior member of Klopp’s squad.The versatile former Manchester City man understands his role is to pass on knowledge to the next generation but also to continue learning from his highly regarded manager.”You’ve always got to try to improve as much as you can, so I’ll go into every training session, every day, with that mindset that you never know anything,” he said.”I’m sure the manager’s learned things and he’s been in football a lot longer than me.”I think if you’ve got the mindset where you think that you know everything, you’re going to be struggling.” Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the weblast_img read more