Even though they’ve hit a rough patch, Sevilla are always a tough nut to crack. That much we know. But that didn’t stop FC Barcelona manager Luis Enrique Martínez from hammering away at that very message during Tuesday’s press conference the day before one of the season’s most pivotal matches.
“Form does not matter,” he said. “We both arrive with the need for points because we want to meet our goals."
But faced with further questions as to Sevilla’s current play, the manager continued: “Sevilla's season must be highlighted,” he said. “Even though they are not on good form, they remain a fearsome opponent.”
And to further emphasize their quality, Luis Enrique pointed out that “they could easily be in the Champions League quarterfinals, like us.”
Here are the highlights of what he had to say.
On the fans at Camp Nou:
"I hope that we can count on the support of the Camp Nou. They will be crucial in order for us to achieve [the win].”
On Andrés Iniesta:
“He’s had some bad luck with injuries. He’s back in top form and training fantastically. It’s great to have him for the stretch run.”
On the maturation of Luis Suárez:
He does a lot more than just score. We have to be grateful for the way he has adapted himself for the good of the team. It’s not just what he does, it’s how he does it.
On how long Rafinha will be out:
“We’ll know more in 48 hours.”
On the intensive fixture list and Lionel Messi:
“We’re always looking to control the number of minutes they play. Messi was out with a suspension but has been training regularly. Let’s look on the positive side of the mini break he has had. We all want to see Messi out on the field and that’s what we’ll get.”
On Juventus v Napoli:
“I saw some of the game, but I’m surprised by any criticism. Juventus couldn’t get the ball away from Napoli, but they are a fearsome team with or without the ball.”