La Liga

Puyol: New man must fit style

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Mon, 22 Jul 2013 13:11:00

Barcelona defender Carles Puyol fully expects the board to choose the best candidate to replace outgoing coach Tito Vilanova - as long as the new man believes in the club's "philosophy".

The Catalan club announced on Friday night that 44-year-old Vilanova was stepping down as he continues his battle with cancer, with former Paraguay coach Gerardo 'Tata' Martino the apparent frontrunner for the Nou Camp job.

Sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta is reportedly in Buenos Aires today to meet Martino, who recently severed ties with Argentinian Clausura champions Newell's Old Boys.

Former Barcelona B coach Luis Enrique, Andre Villas-Boas, Michael Laudrup, Marcelo Bielsa and Rubi are among the other tacticians linked with the post - with Feyenoord coach Ronald Koeman stating a move to Catalonia was "absolutely not on the cards" - and skipper Puyol believes the names in the frame all share a common philosophy.

He told Marca.com: "I think all the names that have been mentioned are capable of coaching this team. We all know that Zubi and the board are working hard and we're sure they'll bring us the best coach.

"We have a certain way of playing; a philosophy. The coach that comes in will follow that line and I'm sure that Zubi and the directors are looking for a coach that can adapt to our characteristics.

"I know (Tata) is a very good coach, who likes the style of the club. And you all know that I have a very good relationship with Luis (Enrique) - he's one of the most accomplished names - but I like all the others who have been mentioned."

Puyol, 35, also paid tribute to Vilanova, who inspired Barcelona to a 22nd Primera Division title last season despite spending much of his sole year in charge receiving treatment for throat cancer in New York.

"It's really tough news, not just because it's happened to a coach or a colleague, but because it's an illness," Puyol added. "The person is the most important thing.

"We remember how he talked to us, how he asked us to give everything, asked us to fight. We certainly did that and we did it even more because of him."

Earlier on Monday, four-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi appeared to support the appointment of Martino at the Nou Camp.

The Argentinian forward told Diario Ole: "I like Tata Martino. He is a great coach and he showed that in the Clausura with what he did for the team, the way it ended and how he did it. He gets his teams playing well and we all respect him."

Barca president Sandro Rosell said on Friday night that the club expect to make an announcement on Vilanova's replacement in the coming days.

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