After telling the press he would only celebrate a goal against Barcelona to spite members of the club hierarchy like Robert Fernandez and Josep Maria Bartomeu, Jeremy Mathieu has come out with some criticism of former coach Luis Enrique.
“I lost my confidence in the last year. That’s football. The problem is Luis Enrique didn’t talk with the players,” Mathieu told El Club de la Mitjanit. “I didn’t know what to do to play more. I played a lot in the first two years. I don’t know why it changed in the last year. But that’s the way it is.”
It’s Lucho’s approach to his players that Mathieu kept coming back to, saying “I’m not sure he talked much with the captains.”
He also once again launched an attack on Diario SPORT, saying the newspaper made him “angry.”
“They kill you, he said, “you do a good job, but they’re not happy.”
Mathieu felt scapegoated last season, saying it made him “afraid that [he] would do poorly.”
“It affected me. I saw it a bit against Juventus. In my opinion, we win together or lose together, but the press wants a scapegoat. And it was always me.”
Mathieu had previously asked why the press didn’t ask more questions of his defensive teammates Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano. He says he understands he made mistakes after watching the game twice, but still felt hard done by.
“I was taken off at half time,” he said. “I didn’t understand it, and afterwards I’d rather not talk about it, because I could say bad things.”
Mathieu also talked about his exit last summer, to join Sporting CP, Barcelona’s next opponent in the UEFA Champions League.
“Bartomeu told me he didn’t count on me. I talked with Ernesto Valverde on the phone, he told me he thought that I wanted to go. I spoke to him when we played against Athletic Bilbao, and I told him ‘if Luis Enrique stays, I go.’ And he thought I wanted to leave.”
Mathieu says it was a misunderstanding: “I told him I couldn’t do it anymore, I didn’t know he’d be our next coach. When I saw he signed for Barcelona, I was happy. I know him well, he talks with the players, he gives confidence. But he thought I wanted to go. He decided that he didn’t count on me in his plans. But it’s no big deal.”
Mathieu was full of praise for the new manager: “Valverde has started well, the players are happy. I know him. He’s close to players. He talks a lot, he talks to the players who don’t play, makes them feel important. To me, he’s a good manager. For sure everyone is happy with him.”
He contrasted Valverde’s style with the stern Luis Enrique: “He’s a good manager, but he doesn’t talk much to players who don’t play much or are in a complicated situation. That’s the only thing, he’s a good manager. But he was tired [in his last year].”