The FC Barcelona manager was serious but buoyant in his pre-game press conference on Friday
Luis Enrique rarely misses the opportunity to issue a stern warning. With FC Barcelona at home on Saturday versus Granada in league action following two straight physically and psychologically taxing encounters with RCD Espanyol — and with one more on the menu next Wednesday night — the FC Barcelona head coach sat on the dais in the press room at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper on Friday and was, as usual, unambiguous in his analysis.
“Granada need points, and that makes them more dangerous,” he said. “They’re physically strong and they work hard.”
Saturday’s match at Camp Nou kicks off at 4.00pm CET and, depending on what happens, it could shake up the top of the league table for the second week in a row.
“It’s important that we keep it so that we depend on ourselves,” Luis Enrique said. FC Barcelona are in second place, just two points behind leaders Atlético de Madrid. But the Catalans do have a game in hand, one they missed while disputing the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan last month.
At Friday’s press conference, the Barça manager was peppered with questions on a litany of topics. Here are the highlights of what he had to say:
“They are on the upswing after a positive result against Sevilla, with the need for points, with good football players and good players on attack that can create problems in the transition game.”
On his team’s situation:
“I’m interested in everything that has to do with football; the less controversy the better. We’re the current league champions and we want to win the title again, win again at home, and keep moving down the right path.”
On Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan:
“What I decide is always with the intention of what’s best for the team. Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal are on the team now and they have to improve their performance like the rest of the players.”
“Until now there’s been a great response from the team and the fact that new players come in is beneficial. And also because they play positions we need to improve. Now they have to earn their spot.”
“The coach’s job is to make decisions. The team needs to have different options and the competition is necessary.”
“I have a lot options for where to put Aleix Vidal. The right side is his natural place and on the left I also have Vermaelen and Mathieu. Playing Aleix Vidal at left full-back would be more of an emergency situation.”