In one line, to your answer about description, I highly doubt that Luis Enrique will be successful with FC Barcelona. While I also believe that Tata Martino was a perfect candidate for coach and he shouldn’t have been allowed to leave.
Now, coming to the question about why Pep Guardiola was more successful and is still currently amongst one of the best coaches, is the midfield maestros he had at his disposal.
Being a fan of the football they had displayed for those 5 years, I tried to read literature upon what used to happen behind closed doors of the team and the revelations were beyond my surprises.
Few of the things Pep implemented were penalties for coming up late and staying out late. The money which was pooled went into a group account which later was celebrated after a big win as a party. Now the special thing about this was that every player had to come with his family and be present there. Neither anyone can come leaving their family back nor can anyone skip it.
This might look like something which is very normal but when come to think of it, if you spend 8 hours at job and few more together at dinner everyday, the obvious thing that happens is that you become great friends with those people and it obviously reflects as team chemistry amongst players.
While other teams has only few examples of this attribute such as Real Madrid’s Iker and Ramos and Bayern Munich’s Bastian Schweinsteiger and Arjen Robben, Barcelona used to boast Pique-Puyol, Xavi-Iniesta-Sergio, Puyol-Sergio and Valdes-Puyol.
Other than team chemistry, his playing style had something amazing too which was the diamond rotation. Having Xavi and now Lahm at their diamond center, who are amongst one of the most amazing passers as well as people who can stay as pillar of the team. This makes it very hard for opponents to break the team down.
Here’s a picture about his diamond rotation to make triangle during the play.
And Luis has adapted to this too but he has his own version with a quadrilateral diamond.
Another notable thing to mention about Pep’s style are that he used to perform or rather say “Rehearse the football” they were going to play prior to the match behind the closed doors, which was rather amazing because that gave insights to the holes, if any, which were there in the playing system.
And who can argue about Pep’s half-time adaptions to the opponent’s playing techniques. Not to mention the goals are always pretty. It has been seen over the recent years that the one that is strongest in midfield is always one of the strongest in the competition.
Now, about Tata Martino, I believe he’s been under unfair criticism. He had injury plagued forwards and his first season in Europe. Add to that an out-of-form Xavi and Sergio Busquets. Not to mention a horrible defensive problem except for Mascherano and Valdes. Even with that, he had an amazing first half of the season.
With the team at his disposal, he did really good and not to mention, tactics-wise he was pretty good too. Especially half-time changes, which I believe matters the most in these games. The Granada draw along with Valladolid and Getafe loss were results of sloppy play from the Barcelona midfield. He lost the El Clasico thanks to an amazing goal from Bale. Victor Valdes’ injury was the turning point for Barcelona’s loss, without which, he might have even won a trophy.
But still the performance was satisfactory. He could have well been kept as the Barcelona coach. Although, he did try to change the team’s philosophy by playing occasional counter-attacking football as well as, less possession obsessive football but those were good changes seeing how Alexis, Tello, Fabregas etc played when given chances, especially in the absence of Messi. So, yes, I do believe Martino was good but unfortunate with some luck going against him.
Coming to Luis Enrique, I have concluded in one of the previous questions that he’s not been as good with the tactics. Especially in the forward-line (Which largely, so far has been, crosses from full-backs or one-to-one by Messi-Neymar). Apart from still experimenting with team line up, with Iniesta losing the spark, an out-of-form Xavi and Sergio and Barca’s problems with both their flanks, he arguably has a poor midfield.
Seeing how Rakitic is playing amazing, but the attacking tendency of Dani Alves leaves a huge gap behind him. Similarly, on the other side, Alba too, comes too far forward when attacking, which leaves both the flanks exposed. Busquets too, is worn out leaving all of the attacking midfield work to Messi, who plays deeper feeding Neymar and Munir. Although this has changed to Suarez feeding anybody available in penalty box in last few matches, the defensive midfield still remains a huge problem.
Although both the center-backs, Mascherano and Bartra are playing good, along with Rakitic and Neymar up-front but unless and until he solves problems with his defensive midfield along with theexposed flanks issue, Barca are in huge trouble, especially against the big teams with good wingers such as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
Also, as I hinted earlier, Luis’s adaption to the game is really poor. Tactically he goes to the stadium with a plan, no doubt, but if that’s not working, he doesn’t have plan-B or almost any other tactic to adapt too.
One of the things that might help Barca is using Bartra and Mathieu as CB, Masch as DM and Neymar, Rakitic as wingers. With Suarez and Messi doing the finishing work. Which still will leave both the full backs wide open but Masch playing deeper making it a 3-Man defense along with two centerbacks, might give enough time for the team to get back to defending upon a quick counter-attack.
Another problem with this Barca team is their poor dealing of set pieces, but that is just one among the enough problems that Luis Enrique has to address before he can cement his place in the hearts of his critics.
Pep’s success is and was due to a stronger midfield, one which he moulded, created and manufactured one of the best midfields the game of Football has ever seen but the same which this current Barcelona team lacks. Moreover, poor tactics by the manager leaves too many gaps for opponents and the out-of-form players do not help the team either.
As of now I find it hard to believe that Luis Enrique will be a success. Not to mention anything less than a strong performance, do result in lack of confidence. Good luck to the team and I hope they find success by the end of the season and probably their own new ‘Pep Guardiola’ to lead them in the years to come.