The Barça manager says the team must adapt to the kick-off times stipulated in the schedule. "It's the same for both teams," he said
Less than 24 hours before Saturday’s 1.00pm kick off at Leganés, FC Barcelona manager Luis Enrique Martínez was relaxed and focused.
That’s right, tomorrow’s match at the Estadio Municipal de Butarque on the outskirts of Madrid is being played at a time that many in Spain consider the late morning.
While unconventional kick off times have been known to draw criticism around the league from time to time, Luis Enrique has never been one to follow suit. And in Friday's press conference at the Ciutat Esportiva, it was no different.
“We have to adapt [to the schedule],” he said. “It’s going to be the same for both teams.”
In an attempt to quell the issue once and for all, he added: “We don’t look for excuses, we look for results."
Nevertheless, questions about the early kick-off time kept on coming, albeit in different forms.
One reporter asked if he liked playing at one o’clock.
“I’ll tell you tomorrow around three o'clock whether I like playing at one o'clock,” he said.
Another suggested the hour was just plain strange.
“[Tomorrow’s kick-off] time isn’t strange.” Luis Enrique said.
“Strange would be if we had to play at one o'clock and Leganés had to play at three o'clock,” he said.
You’ve got to give the Barça manager kudos for that one. That would be strange.
Here are the highlights of what he had to say about some of the other topics related to Saturday’s match:
On the team’s objective for the game:
“The objective is the same; we try to win every game.”
On whether Messi, Neymar and Luis Suárez understand that they need to rest from time to time in order to be healthy at the end of the season:
“We all know that with a 60-plus game schedule it’s practically impossible for any player to play all 90 minutes in every game.”
“I can guarantee they are organized and they defend well. It won’t be an easy game by any means.”
On being three points behind the league leaders:
“We saw last year that points can be made up quickly. We’re not playing for the title right now.”