Luis Enrique Can Inspire Barcelona Players to Match Former Glories

Rik Sharma@@riksharma_Featured ColumnistJuly 31, 2014

Luis Enrique can inspire Barca.
Luis Enrique can inspire Barca.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

There is a good atmosphere around Barcelona at the moment and a strong feeling that Luis Enrique can drag them out of last season's slump and back to their vibrant best.

The Asturian coach played for Barcelona for several years and knows the club inside out.

Pedro, speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, enthused about the direction "Lucho" was taking the team in.

He spoke about the man he knew from their time at Barca B, when Enrique coached him.

Per Sport, Pedro said: "He is exactly the same as he was then," he said, "a coach with clear ideas, works intensely and does some really good stuff physically.

"[It will be] difficult to repeat the success from the Pep Guardiola era, but that idea is nice. We are working well and there is a clear idea of how to play and that is the objective."

Pedro hailed Enrique.
Pedro hailed Enrique.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

The forward even said he is willing to play drastically out of position for the manager, showing a clear willingness to go beyond the pale.

He explained: "With [Vicente] Del Bosque, in the national team, I've training a few times as a full-back. But I feel most comfortable playing in attack because that is my natural position. However, if Luis Enrique needs me as a full-back one time, I will play there without problems."

Pedro isn't the only player who has experience working with Enrique at Barca B level.

The likes of Jordi Masip and Gerard Deulofeu have both already praised the manager and shown they believe they can earn places in the side this season.

Gerard Deulofeu will have chances this season.
Gerard Deulofeu will have chances this season.Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Whether or not they do is almost irrelevant; what is important is the feeling of competition and the hunger which he seems to be inspiring.

Last season Barcelona looked like they were going through the motions.

The squad last campaign had the air of "been there, done that."

This season there is young, fresh blood. Rafinha and Deulofeu could end up being particularly important.

Ivan Rakitic had an enjoyable first taste of European silverware when he helped Sevilla lift the Europa League trophy last season.

Now he will want to push on and prove himself at this higher level.

Even the big-name, big-bucks summer signing with plenty of bite, Luis Suarez, is still eager to prove himself.

Suarez won the Eredivisie with Ajax and the Primera Division with Nacional, but will be desperate to secure one of the world's major titles.

All he has to show for his time at Liverpool is just a solitary League Cup.

Suarez and Co. have plenty to prove and Enrique is the man to get it out of them.

Luis Suarez will have plenty to prove.
Luis Suarez will have plenty to prove.David Ramos/Getty Images

Enrique has also already shown a willingness to do things his own way, and that's not just his "work-em-hard" attitude towards training.

At Celta Vigo he made use of an unorthodox "observation tower," which he sat on and watched the players working from.

He appreciated the elevated view for its additional tactical insight.

And even for this one week he is spending in England at St George's Park, he has had an identical tower put in place, per Sport.

With the race for La Liga as tight as it's ever been, extra attention to detail like this could pay dividends.