Luis Enrique: Former Barcelona boss Robson used to explain tactics with plastic cups

The Blaugrana coach has nothing but fond memories of the one season he spent playing under the England coach, whom he felt was unlucky to have succeed Johan Cruyff at the helm
Luis Enrique has revealed how former Barcelona boss Bobby Robson would use plastic cups to explain tactics during half-time team talks.

The current incumbent at Camp Nou played under the influential English coach during the 1996-97 season, a campaign in which the Catalans lifted the Supercopa de Espana, the Copa del Rey and the European Cup Winners' Cup.

Consequently, Luis Enrique has nothing but fond memories of Robson, who didn't only use his translator, Jose Mourinho, to get his points across.

"He meant a lot to me," Luis Enrique told the English Football Association on the five-year anniversary of Robson's death.

"In my first year at the club, in 96/97, it was his first, and his last, year at the club, alongside Mourinho.

"I played in lots of positions for him, and many games, and I have great memories of that year,  and I only have positive things to say about that time.

"The Robson we got to know in Barcelona was already a very qualified coach, who had won trophies. He had experience and success behind him. He was really well respected.

"He had very clear ideas, very attack minded, and had a clear and fairly simple philosophy.

"He knew how to get a group to adapt to the demands of a great team, under different circumstances.

"I remember that at half-time, he’d use plastic cups to demonstrate tactical moves! He was a coach with lots of resources, and was so easy to get on with."

Robson was infamously sacked at the end of his first season in Catalunya, despite winning three trophies, and Luis Enrique still feels the former England international was unlucky to have taken over at what was a tough time for the club.

"Although it was only one season, we won lots of titles," he mused. "It was a difficult season because it was the first year after [club icon Johan] Cruyff, and Barca went for a very experienced coach in Robson, and I think he more than fulfilled all expectations.

"But I also remember that it was fairly tough as there were lots of new signings that season."

"But with him I always had a really good feeling and a great relationship. I started playing in defence, and when he gave me the chance to play further forward I began to score goals, and he always spoke highly of me.

"I will always be grateful as it was my first year at Barca, and a very important year for me."