The FC Barcelona head coach tells the media that his players will approach Wednesday's Copa del Rey derby at Espanyol the same way they did in the previous two
Newly crowned FIFA World Coach of the Year, FC Barcelona's very own Luis Enrique, spoke to reporters at the Ciutat Esportiva on Tuesday, a little more than a day before Barça and Espanyol square off for the third time in 11 days.
After a scoreless draw at Espanyol in La Liga on 2 January and a 4–1 victory at Camp Nou in the first leg of the Copa del Rey last 16 on 6 January, FCB head back out to Cornellà-El Prat for the second leg and with an eye on advancing to the quarter-finals.
"Regardless of the outcome, our goal is to be better than them. Our aim is to move on even though we know it will be difficult," Luis Enrique said.
But will Barça's approach be any different this time around?
"We'll do the same things we did in the previous derbies, which is no different than going out to win," the coach said. "It will be the most attractive of the three derbies because only one of the two teams can move on [to the quarter-finals]. We will go for the win, but will face an opponent that, unlike in other games, will pressure us further up."
The Barça coach also took the opportunity to praise the five-time winner of the FIFA Ballon d'Or, Lionel Messi: "It gives great joy that won. We all imagined it would it would happen because of everything he did last year and it recognises the best player of all time," he said. "His ability to interpret the game is brilliant and indispensable and his numbers show that he is a complete player."
Luis Enrique continued: "Messi can still win many more Ballons d'Or, but the most important thing is that everything is part of a collective idea that players understand very well."
Luis Enrique, who could not attend the FIFA Gala but won the FIFA World Coach of the Year away, also spoke about what it meant to be seen as the top manager: "I'm very happy because it's a reward for the hard work of all the players, the club and the staff," he said. "I am very grateful to everyone who voted for me and who felt that we were deserving of this award."
When asked about the FIFA FIFPro World XI, to which four members of his team were named — Alves, Iniesta, Messi and Neymar — Luis Enrique said: "I'm very happy for them, but I also consider that there are more players on my team who deserved to be there."