Former Barcelona star Xavi says he will never coach a team to play in the same way as those managed by Jose Mourinho.
Barca take on Inter in the Champions League on Wednesday in a repeat of the semi-final tie of 2009-10, when the Nerazzurri triumphed 3-2 on aggregate after a memorable 10-man defensive display at Camp Nou in the second leg.
Mourinho guided Inter to the treble that season before heading to LaLiga to take over at Real Madrid, where the rivalry with Pep Guardiola’s Barca became ferocious during his three years in charge.
The Portuguese has come in for criticism later in his career for refusing to embrace a more positive style of football, particularly at Manchester United, who are struggling to keep pace with attacking sides such as Manchester City and Liverpool in the Premier League.
Although Xavi accepts Mourinho teams are tough to beat, he insists he would encourage different tactics if he were to become a head coach after retiring from playing.
‘Mourinho is a very defensive coach. Playing against his Inter wasn’t easy,’ the Al-Sadd midfielder told Corriere dello Sport.
‘That’s his style and he put it into practice with Chelsea and Real Madrid. He cares about all the details, he closes the gaps and he doesn’t give you space.
‘I like a different kind of football. I’m not criticising, but I don’t enjoy playing football in that way and my teams will never have that attitude.’
Xavi went on to tip former boss Guardiola to be a success if he ever decides to try his luck in Serie A.
‘Guardiola is not just wonderful football with big performers: he cares a lot about the details of defensive movements and his teams are very organised,’ Xavi said of the City manager, who has admitted being interested in moving to Italy.
‘If he has said that he wants to try an experience in Italian football, you can be certain that, sooner or later, he will come. And, given what I know about him, he won’t just come to take part.’
Xavi, who turns 39 in January, admits this is likely to be the final few months of his stellar playing career, although he has not yet confirmed his intentions.
‘This is 99 per cent my last season because, at nearly 39, it’s normal to be tired and need a change of course,’ added the Spain great, who is taking UEFA’s Pro Licence courses to become a coach.
‘It’s not yet the time for announcements or goodbyes, but I’ve thought clearly on what I will do.’
-This story originally appeared on FourFourTwo.co.za
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