FC Barcelona manager Luis Enrique spoke to the media on Friday midday ahead of his side’s home game against Alavés on Saturday at Camp Nou.
The league’s newcomers have made a positive start, drawing their opening two matches, one of which was away to Atlético Madrid, and Luis Enrique noted that it will not be an easy game. Here is what the manager had to say:
“They have a new manager, new players, new sensations. They have started the league well with a draw at the Calderon, showing that they are a tough team to beat. They have a solid backline, having conceded just one goal.”
“I expect Alavés to retreat, to close spaces, with either a 4-1-4-1 or 4-4-2. We must be attentive in transitions and control their fast players well.”
“We go into the game on the back of the international break. Depending on the opponent and the situation, I will try to choose the best way of using the players.”
"We had to assess the situation. He trained one part with the team and another alone. He is in a condition to play tomorrow."
“He is doing well, very happy. He is adapting well as he knows many of the players from the national team and from the rest of the league. He is practically already integrated, with the motivation to help us.”
“When it happened to us I said it was unfair, so I will say the same. But we overcame it, we won titles. Real Madrid and Atletico have great squads anyway.”
"Iniesta and Mathieu have improved their physical condition but will need minutes to fully recover."
“Neymar is in great shape, happy for winning Olympic gold with his country, and is motivated to participate.”
“In 23 days we have seven matches. We must play a game of tetris, assess the workload, see what each game requires, which type of players we need for each game. All players will be required, but they know they cannot play all the time, in each game there will be top players on the bench or in the stands. But we all have the common goal of winning titles, and therefore we must be a team, thinking of the overall benefit.”