In an exclusive interview with FIFA.com, FC Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola talks about his time in charge of the Catalan club, including what has been the secret behind his team’s recent success, changes he has made during his time in charge, and the people who have influenced his coaching style. You can find the complete first part of the interview here. Excerpts can be found after the jump.
Pep, it’s been one success after another in your three and a half years in charge at Barcelona. What’s been the secret?
Guardiola: There’s nothing special about it really. First of all, I’ve tried to be faithful to the history of Barcelona, which is a great club in every respect. And then it’s just been a question of making good signings and blending them in with the homegrown players, handling them in the right way and not being scared to give the youngsters a chance when the time’s right.
You made an instant impact when you took over. How did you manage that?
I was an unknown quantity when I came in, and the first thing I asked the team to do was to put their trust in me. I told them everything would work out fine. I wanted the fans to see that the team was going to work hard, run, play good football, and take pride in their work on the pitch. People want to be entertained. They don’t want to be cheated. The fans can accept a poor performance but they won’t take it when you choose not to put in the effort. The team’s come one and we’ve made changes and tweaked a few things here and there. The idea is still the same, though: to attack, score as many goals as possible, and play as well as we can.
Turning to this season now, you’ve made a few tactical alterations. Why change something that works?
People talk about tactics, but when you look at it, tactics are just players. You change things so that the team can get the most out of the skills they have to offer, but you don’t go any further than that. When it comes to tactics you have to think about what the opposition does and the players who can hurt you. What I’ve done this season is a response to the gameplans our rivals are now adopting against us. As time goes by people get to know you better. They pose problems for you and you have to come up with solutions.
As a coach, how much have you learned from Johan Cruyff, and have any other coaches influenced you along the way?
Cruyff’s been my biggest influence. I spent six years with him and I learned an awful lot. Juan Manuel Lillo has also been an essential figure. He was my coach for just six months in Culiacan, Mexico, but we had a great time and I learned a lot. I think highly of him and I’m very grateful to him, because he was very generous and passed his knowledge on to me. And he knows a lot too.
Source: fifa.com; Image: AP Photo