Luis Enrique and Guardiola: seven titles won in their first two years
The current Barça boss failed to clinch the sextuple but, unlike the ex-Bayern coach, successfully retained the Copa del Rey during his second season in charge.
Luis Enrique is neck-and-neck with Pep Guardiola. With Sunday night’s late-night victory over Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final, the Asturian manager drew level with the soon-to-be Man City boss in terms of titles scooped in his first two seasons at the helm of Barcelona: seven trophies from a possible nine. Both men clinched the treble in their maiden seasons in charge. It’s in their second seasons that slight differences emerge. Guardiola capped off a six-title charge by winning both the Spanish and European Super Cups as well as the Club World Cup before retaining the league title the following campaign; Lucho’s Barça were outmuscled by Athletic in the Spanish Super Cup but did manage to hold onto their Copa del Rey title by beating Sevilla, the same team that dumped Pep’s charges out of the competition at the round of 16 stage in 2009.
Luis Enrique’s bewildering first season
Both men’s first seasons in command of the Culés were awesome. Guardiola and Luis Enrique added trebles to the Camp Nou trophy collection and wrote their names into the club’s history books as, to date, the only two managers to ever claim all three major titles in a single season. However, it is the former Celta coach’s numbers that look the more impressive on paper. The Barça of the MSN era have won more games, scored more and conceded fewer goals in all three competitions.
Lucho denied the sextuple
Luis Enrique found a fly in his ointment before Pep. Lucho’s Barcelona huffed and puffed to edge past Sevilla (5-4) in the Uefa Super Cup final before being pipped to the domestic equivalent a few days later. Athletic Club mauled them 4-0 at San Mamés in the first leg, a result the Catalans could not overhaul at the Camp Nou. Neither manager failed to win the Club World Cup though: Guardiola lifted the title after beating Estudiantes, with Luis Enrique doing the same a few years later against River Plate.
Victims of the Champions League curse
Leaving their inaugural seasons aside, Luis Enrique edges his old team-mate in terms of successes achieved in his second season. Barcelona were unstoppable in the league during 2009-10 and claimed the domestic title with a 99-points tally. However, that same team went crashing out of the Copa del Rey to Sevilla.
Lucho’s troops were also crowned league champions in their second season after claiming 91 points and outscoring Pep’s side 112 goals to 98.
As good as both teams have been, neither have been able to lift the curse that has existed in the continental competition since the current format came into effect in 1992-93. Mourinho’s Inter Milan cut Pep’s Champions League title defence short, while Luis Enrique was dumped out of the competition by Simeone’s Atlético Madrid.
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