Barça are back in league action away to Granada on Sunday following a two week break for international fixtures. Luis Enrique spoke to the media ahead of this game and he focused on the LaLiga run-in and how his squad is shaping up following the international break: “We are going into this game aware of the difficulties we face because of the break and the fact we are playing away.” The coach also warned his team that they struggled to beat the Granada in the first round of fixtures in a tight 1-0 victory at the Camp Nou.
The internationals came back throughout the week following their time with their respective national sides. The last to arrive were the South American internationals, except for Mascherano who returned on Friday. On the plus side, “they have come back in good shape in spite of the amount of travelling and they have another day to rest as we play on Saturday.”
In Granada, Barça will kick start the league run-in and look to improve upon their current second place. Luis Enrique said, “the closer we get to the end, the more important the points are.” April will be a hectic month but the manager doesn’t see this as a problem: “We are feeling positive at the moment and even though April will be tough it is what we wanted at the start of the season.”
Besides the injured Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan, Luis Enrique will be unable to count on the suspended Messi or the rested Piqué. On the Argentinian, he said “the rest will be good for him.” The need to have a break is also the reasoning behind Piqué’s absence from the match day squad: “We are giving a crucial player a break as he has played with his national team and has played a lot of football with us.”
Finally, Luis Enrique discussed Messi’s FIFA sanction: “He is a player who doesn’t generate controversy; even though he is the best in the world and is constantly watched his attitude is irreproachable.”