BARCELONA, Spain, Jun 1 – Newly installed Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde vowed Thursday to “deepen” and “revisit” the renowned slick passing game of the Catalan giants in a bid to lead the club to success in all possible competitions next season.
“I know the style because I played here” between 1998-90, Valverde said at his first press conference after being named successor to Luis Enrique on a two-year contract with the option of a further year.
“I must adapt myself, or rather readapt, in a certain way. My goal is always to deepen the style, to revisit it once again.”
Valverde, 53, has some big shoes to fill, Enrique having won nine of 13 possible trophies in his time at the helm.
“I must absolutely adapt to the style of the gameplan employed by the team, which has had so much success,” said the coach, who signed from Athletic Bilbao.
“To have a very collective gameplan, based on midfielders,” he said, adding that he wanted to win “all competitions that we can” next season.
“What I’ve always liked is that Barca manages to achieve its ends through its gameplan, without speculating, by going forward.”
Valverde did not say what exactly he wanted to improve.
“We’ll see over time,” he said. “In football, you always have to keep going forward. If you don’t, you go backwards. But it’s a progressive issue and we’ll see little by little.
“To say what can be improved is a dangerous thing and I can only tip my hat to what my predecessor Luis Enrique, who is a great coach, achieved here.
“I have my idea about what can be done, not better but in a different way.”
Turning to his motivation in joining Barca, Valverde said: “I said I wanted a tough challenge and it’s one the toughest.
“When a team like FC Barcelona calls you, you don’t have to think about it too much.”
Valverde also dismissed any worries about managing a squad packed with some of the world’s best-paid and recognised players.
“I expect to find a squad of young players who want to win and will give the best of themselves,” he said.
“We idealise too much all this, millionaire players and all that. I don’t know many players who were born millionaires.”
Working with Argentina’s Leo Messi would be a “unique experience”, the coach added.
“He’s the best player I’ve ever seen on a pitch. Sometimes you could say Leo Messi has reached the summit, but he surprises you even more the following day.
“I hope to enjoy seeing him play and do everything possible to help him. And I hope he’ll continue to surprise us.”