Barcelona players Andres Iniesta and Jordi Alba endorsed their former manager Luis Enrique as a potential replacement for Antonio Conte at Chelsea ahead of the two sides meeting in the Champions League this week.
Barca travel to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night for the first leg of their last-16 tie, and may be ramping up the mind games ahead of the match amid doubts over Conte’s future at the club.
The Italian tactician enjoyed great success with the Blues last season, but has struggled badly to replicate that this term with some questionable signings and disappointing performances.
The Telegraph have recently linked Enrique with Chelsea, stating that the west Londoners were likely to look to replace the struggling Conte at the end of the season, while another Telegraph report suggested they could still turn to Guus Hiddink as a short-term option before then.
Still, with Barcelona players asked about the prospect of their old manager taking over at the Bridge, Alba admitted he wouldn’t be surprised to see the Spaniard take Conte’s job.
‘For me, it wouldn’t be a big surprise if Luis Enrique took over at Chelsea, because he has the right experience and quality for this kind of club,’ Alba is quoted in the Daily Mirror.
‘Chelsea is a bit like Barcelona – a club where you are always obliged to be a champion. But that kind of pressure doesn’t damage the work of someone like Luis Enrique. He is used to it.’
He added: ‘He has proved himself already.
‘The Premier League is different to La Liga, but I don’t think that will be a problem for Enrique. I think he would do well.’
Conte will surely be even more fired up to beat Barcelona now as their players openly discuss managers potentially replacing him before he’s even left the job.