Xavi continues to take on the massive challenge of managing one of the biggest clubs in the world and the club of his life at the very start of his coaching career, and the Barcelona boss has already had many ups and downs as we approach two years of his tenure in charge of the Blaugrana first team.
After a very promising start with fantastic performances, the growth of individual players and a memorable win in El Clásico came a tough period with plenty of European disappointment and questionable decisions, but a dominant La Liga title run in his first full season gave hope that, if given time, he might prove to be the man to lead Barça’s revival.
But the truth is the coach is still evolving as a manager in every aspect of the job, and he’s given some great insight into that evolution in a new interview in which he discusses his management style and his constant search for tactical innovation.
Xavi has by all accounts created a great atmosphere in the Barça dressing room and has excellent relationships with the players due to his constant and honest communication with every member of the squad, and he’s explained how performing the role of leader of men is just as crucial as the strategy side.
“The matter of managing a dressing room is almost more important than the tactical matter. At the end of the day we become half coaches, half psychologists. Being an elite footballer made more empathetic to the players who don’t play as much and I also know what the growth of a footballer feels like, and who needs a more loving approach. This gives me a sense of control over the dressing room.”
Xavi also revealed his coaching influences, citing two specific names as the ones who have shaped his vision of man-management and tactical approach the most.
“Having a lot of coaches in my career made me take a little bit from all of them: from Van Gaal, from Rijkaard, from Guardiola, from Luis Enrique, from Iñaki Sáez, from Luis Aragonés. I got my masters in man-management from Aragonés and my masters in tactics from Guardiola”
It’s no surprise that Xavi cites Pep Guardiola as his biggest source of tactical inspiration, and it’s also no surprise that his former national team coach Luis Aragonés, who passed away in 2014 and is one of the most beloved figures in the history of Spanish football, influenced the way in which Xavi treats his players.