Jeremy Mathieu, a former defender for Barcelona, has spoken out against the managerial style of Luis Enrique.

In 2009, the Frenchman—now retired—transferred from Toulouse to Valencia in La Liga. He established himself as one of Spain’s top defenders throughout his time there. Then, in the summer of 2014, Barcelona took a gamble on the Frenchman after seeing him play in La Liga.

That July, his move happened at the same time as Luis Enrique’s entrance. What Mathieu told BeIN Sports was that “he was the one who wanted me, and we almost met in secret to discuss [signing for the club].”

Even though Enrique was instrumental in the player’s decision to sign, the defender had a “mixed” experience playing under the manager.

What did Jeremy Mathieu say about Luis Enrique?

In the 2014-15 season, when the team won three titles, Mathieu made 41 appearances. The following year, he played in 34 games. The ex-defender, however, was cut to 16 appearances for the club in the third season and was no longer a staple.

“We will say that our experience was a mix. He was the one who wanted me and we met secretly to agree on the signing. He is a coach who doesn’t talk to you much and doesn’t give you much confidence.”

“I play a lot with confidence and, sometimes, I played important games and then I was on the bench. So, actually, he needed continuity. That’s what I didn’t understand. But he never explained to me why.

“Maybe he didn’t have time, I don’t know… Maybe he works like that. No, I don’t know why, I think that’s how Luis Enrique works. That’s how he is.

Given Luis Enrique’s managerial style, the defender was unable to state with certainty whether or not this would be an issue for Paris Saint-Germain.

“A problem in Paris? Maybe. Did he change his way of being and do things afterwards? I don’t know. It was like that for us at Barcelona and in the end, I had a bad time.”

Not the first instance of problems

Rumors about their strained relationship are nothing new. Mathieu had been outstanding in the middle of Barcelona’s defense earlier in the 2014-15 season. But then, he was taken aback to play left back in El Clasico at the year’s turn.

However, Enrique’s response to his player’s remarks was unfiltered. “If Mathieu’s surprised by playing at left-back we should pack up and go home”, he told AS.

The following year, the Frenchman verified that the long-running rumors of an altercation between the Spanish coach and Lionel Messi on the training field were partially true. He claimed that the Argentine superstar had a heated exchange with Enrique over a decision to deny him a free kick.

“It happened when we returned from holiday. Suddenly, because of a foul that didn’t get called, Leo threw a… minor tantrum. There was some friction, some things were said.

Afterward, the coach talked to him in the dressing room and that was that. It happens at every club, but because this is Barcelona it’s big news. And that’s the problem”, Mathieu told RMC Sport.