Luis Suarez has revealed he was surprised to hear the announcement that Barcelona boss Luis Enrique would be standing down at the end of the season.
The Catalan coach was due to see his contract expire this summer and, in the wake of Wednesday’s 6-1 win over Sporting Gijon, he confirmed his decision to walk away at the end of the current campaign.
Enrique cited a need for rest and more time with his family as mitigating factors in his decision.
He replaced Gerardo Martino in 2014 and has led Barcelona to back-to-back La Liga and Cope del Rey successes along with the Champions League in 2015.
Suarez, who joined from Liverpool in 2014, insists he wasn’t expecting his manager to leave, but the Uruguayan is respectful of the 46-year-old’s decision.
“We didn’t expect it, but it is understandable and one that we accept,” said the 30-year-old striker.
“The job is very difficult and requires hours of hard work. He has to enjoy being with his family as well.”
Barcelona lead La Liga by a point from Real Madrid, albeit having played a game more, and they are in May’s Copa del Rey final against Alaves.
Next week, they face a mountain in attempting to reach the Champions League quarter-finals as Paris St-Germain come to the Nou Camp armed with a four-goal advantage from the first leg.
The Barca boss feels he had made the correct decision in choosing to walk away now.
“It’s about how I live with my profession, with a never-ending quest for solutions and to improve my team. That means I have very little time to rest, very few hours to disconnect,” he said.
“I think it will be good for me at the end of the season, because I need to rest. That’s the principle motive.”
Barca are 2.05 to win La Liga this season, while Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid are the 1.85 favourites.