In a packed room at the Spanish federation's headquarters, La Roja's new manager discussed his plans for the team's future, emphasizing the need to evolutionize tiki-taka without changing its main principles. 

By Luis Miguel Echegaray
July 19, 2018

Luis Enrique made his first official appearance as Spain's new manager on Thursday in a press conference that lasted almost an hour. Sitting alongside sporting director José Francisco Molina and the Spanish federation's president Luis Rubiales, the 48-year-old head coach discussed his vision for the men's national side while reflecting on a dissapointing World Cup campaign, which saw the country lose to Russia in the Round of 16. 

It has been a tumultous time for Spain who were left without a manager two days before the tournament started. After Real Madrid announced the signing of Julen Lopategui in June, Spain reacted and fired him with immediate effect. Fernando Hierro took over as interim coach, but soon left after the team's loss to the host nation.

One of the biggest highlights was his need to address Spain's possession-based philosophy and how it failed to deliver in Russia. 

"You can evolve a style of play without changing it too much," he said speaking in a packed auditorium. "I did it in a great club such as Barcelona. Noone should doubt that we will continue with the same style, but with a few adjustments."

Evolution was clearly the theme, stressing the need to evaluate the failures without losing the team's identity. 

"I have a preliminary list of 70 players," when talking about his views on the first team squad. "There will be players who have not made too many appearances and have a chance to to come back, and players who have featured frequently, will keep coming and others who just need more motivation."

The former Roma and Barcelona manager also commented on his strong approval of VAR, and how it helps the officials, as there's is less time-wasting adding an element of excitement. 

Aside from team philosophy, Luis Enrique also discussed Gerard Pique's future as the 31-year-old defender had previously hinted retirement from the international stage after the World Cup, though nothing official has been confirmed.

'He's a special case as two years ago he said he was going to retire. I'd like to count on all players and Pique is naturally one of them. He's shown what type of player he is. I'd like to look at everyone who is available but you need to respect their wishes."

Time will tell on Luis Enrique's success as Spain's manager, but one thing is for sure: the 2010 World Cup champions will look to modernize tiki-taka as they prepare for a new chapter. 

 

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