The Blaugrana defender and Neymar have given their assessment of their new head coach, who replaces Luis Enrique at the helm
New Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde is the right man to lead the club into a new cycle of success, according to defender Gerard Pique.
The former Athletic Bilbao boss was appointed as Luis Enrique’s successor at Camp Nou in May, signing a two-year contract with the option of a third.
Valverde guided Athletic to their first trophy since 1984 with a 5-1 aggregate win over Barca in the Supercopa de Espana in 2015.
And Pique feels the 53-year-old, who spent two years at Camp Nou as a player between 1988 and 1990, can deliver success in 2017-18.
“He’s the right person to move forward,” Pique told Omnisport. “He has consolidated his career with a lot of time in La Liga and he was a player for Barcelona. I think he has all the requirements to make a great year.”
Forward Neymar is also expecting a positive year, despite admitting that he knows little about him.
“I don’t know him personally but I have heard a lot of good things,” said the Brazil star.
The 2017/18 preseason for the Barça first team squad is under way!
18 players undergo medicals: https://t.co/xE6hcEpke5
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) July 12, 2017
However, Pique warned that Valverde will have to deliver an exciting style of play as well as silverware, something that predecessor Luis Enrique was often accused of failing to do.
“Our philosophy is not only to win, but win playing well,” said the Spain international. “We have players for that and it’s what we try to do every game.
“This is a show, and people go to enjoy it. It’s not about just winning 1-0 and playing defensively the whole game.”
Neymar agrees that Barca’s priorities for 2017-18 are to triumph in every possible competition by playing their best football.
“To win everything, always win, give our highest level,” he said when asked about Barca’s main goals, before Pique added: “And improve the hair style!”
Barcelona are in Tokyo to celebrate their global partnership with new shirt sponsors Rakuten.