In a recent interview with FIFA.com, FC Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué (24) had special words of praise for blaugrana coach Pep Guardiola, describing him as the secret behind the team’s recent success. The complete interview, in which the Catalan defender also discusses how the team responds in the big games, playing with a back line of three, and the rivalry with Madrid for the Liga title, can be found here. Some excerpts are after the jump.
That selection [FIFPro XI] capped another wonderful year, during which you and Barcelona won almost every competition you entered. What was the secret behind all this success?
Pep Guardiola. Ever since he came back to the club, he has kept us at the very top thanks to the way he sees football and the way he motivates us. We won virtually everything last year, which makes me very proud and satisfied. Particularly because I’m doing all of this on my home turf, at my hometown club and the one I’ve always supported.
Staying on Guardiola, can you give us a little more insight into what makes him such a special coach?
On one hand, he sees football in ways nobody else does, and then he explains it better than anyone. Lots of coaches just tell you to move right or move left, but he gives you the reasons why, which means you clearly understand why you’re doing something. And so, without even realising it, you learn more and more every day and start to make your own decisions out on the pitch. On top of that, you have the way he motivates us. Loads of teams have won a lot of titles but then started losing their hunger, whereas we’re getting hungrier all the time. We want to have that feeling of pleasure, when you feel like you’re the best, again and again. Pep doesn’t let us take our foot off the pedal. He’s always on our case and trying to get the very best out of each one of us.
When we spoke to Guardiola himself, he told us how important it was to treat players like adults and make them responsible for their own actions…
He makes you feel like a professional. It seems like he gives us more freedom, but in fact what he does is give us decision-making power. It’s as if he were saying, ‘Do you really want to make a living doing this? Do you want to be the greatest and win lots of trophies? It all depends on you. I’ll let you spend the night before a game at home, doing whatever you like, but you should know that if you don’t play well, you won’t start the next match.’ This makes you much more mature as well as making you feel you owe him something, so you feel like you have to perform out on the pitch.
Source: FIFA.com; Image: AP Photo/Petr David Josek