Former FC Barcelona defender Jérémy Mathieu has criticised Luis Enrique’s management during his time with the Catalan club in an interview with BeIN Sports.
The now-retired Frenchman had moved from Toulouse FC to Valencia CF in 2009 where the left-back became recognised as one of the best defenders in Spain. His time playing in La Liga had even convinced Barcelona to take a chance on the Frenchman in the summer of 2014.
His transfer more than coincided with the arrival of Luis Enrique that summer, as Mathieu explains “he was the one who wanted me and we almost met in secret to discuss (signing for the club).” However, despite Luis Enrique being part of the reason why the player joined, the defender found life under the manager to be a “mixed” experience.
😬 Jérémy Mathieu se confie sur sa relation compliquée avec Luis Enrique…
👀 L’entretien complet à retrouver dans #SalonVIPChampions demain soir à 19H30 sur beIN SPORTS 1 !#interview #beINSPORTS pic.twitter.com/Rdh9SdoUrA
— beIN SPORTS (@beinsports_FR) February 12, 2024
In his first season at the club, Mathieu made 41 appearances in the treble-winning 2014-15 season, in the next, he made 34 appearances. However, by the third season, Mathieu was suddenly no longer a mainstay in the team and was limited to only 16 matches for the club.
Mathieu confides “He’s a coach who doesn’t talk to you much and doesn’t give you too much confidence.” In particular, the former defender found it difficult to find his rhythm under the manager, “I play with confidence and sometimes, when I played big matches the next week I was on the bench… I needed continuity. That’s what I didn’t understand.”
The defender could not say for certain whether this style of management would prove to be a problem for Luis Enrique’s current club, Paris Saint-Germain. “Maybe… afterwards did he change the way he was and the way he did things? I don’t know. It was like that for us and I had a hard time at the end.”
GFFN | Nick Hartland