Luis Enrique is envious of the freedom Barcelona enjoy compared to his playing days.
Barca turned on the style in a 6-1 La Liga win over Celta Vigo at Camp Nou on Sunday, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez performing a cheeky penalty routine that allowed the Uruguayan to score his hat-trick.
Messi’s decision to pass to Suarez from the spot was labelled by some as disrespectful, although Luis Enrique was unwilling to get involved in that debate.
The former Barca midfielder was also asked whether he enjoyed himself on the pitch as much as his squad and answered: “No, I didn’t.
“I was more concerned with trying not to get kicked by other players. I have a lot of respect for this squad.
“They are very fortunate to have been brought up the way they have and to play this possession football so much more. I didn’t have that when I was playing.”
Barca restored their three-point gap at the top on Sunday and take on Luis Enrique’s boyhood club Sporting Gijon on Wednesday.
The 45-year-old grew up in the city and played for Sporting at youth and senior level, but needs his team to win to extend their advantage over title rivals Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.
“Of course it’s a place that means a lot to me, it’s my home but this is my job,” added Luis Enrique, who has left Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto out of his travelling party.
“I’m a member for infinite years, when I was a kid I would go with my family waving my flags – I’m a Sporting supporter until I die.
“If [Barca’s 30-match unbeaten run] has to end anywhere, let it be at the Molinon. I don’t want that to happen though, let’s hope it goes on for another 100 games.
“At last we’re going to play the game in hand from the Club World Cup, this game gives us a chance to move a few points ahead of our rivals.
“It’s very important for us, we’re playing against a very strong Sporting team who play well out of defence.
“They are one of the most intense teams and the Molinon has a wonderful atmosphere so we’ll need to deal with that intensity and try cause damage.”