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FC Barcelona manager Luis Enrique Martínez faced the media on Tuesday, a day before the crunch Liga encounter with Atlético Madrid, a side he knows are still as strong as they have been in recent seasons.
“They are still masters of the counter attack and set pieces” he said. “They’re candidates for every trophy, so we’ll have to get things right against them.”
“We have to limit our mistakes and stick to our game plan,” he said, before adding, “No game against Atlético is easy.”
Now in his third season at the helm, Luis Enrique’s Barça teams have faced Atlético seven times and have only dropped one. The one loss, however, was last season’s disappointing defeat at the Vicente Calderón that allowed Atlético to knock Barça out of the UEFA Champions League.
One thing, however, is clear — Luis Enrique is quite familiar with Wednesday night’s opponents.
“They base their game on being solid at the back,” he said. “They are the best team are drawing back. But they also have quality strikers and great mobility.”
He continued: “Effectiveness in front of the goal is likely to be one of the key areas. We need to smother their forwards. This is a game between two teams that know each other well, and that makes it all the more exciting.”
On his hopes for the game:
“I hope to see a Camp Nou ready to rumble because that’s what we need.”
On the importance of Sergio Busquets:
“I have to praise him once again. He’s been a starter for every coach he’s played for because he’s irreplaceable.”
On whether he expects to see more records broken by the Trident:
“Their goal scoring numbers help us win, but what they really want to do is to keep winning titles.”
On the individual qualities of Neymar Jr:
“He has his own style. It’s a spectacular style that we love to see at Barça.”
On the agreement between FC Barcelona and the City of Barcelona to keep the metro open later on Wednesday night:
“Considering the kick-off time, it’s good that the members can get home.”
On whether the Trident needs rest, and whether he talks about it with them before games:
“I’d like to have all three play all 90 minutes of every game, but it cannot be so. We have to find time for them to rest. Sometimes I discuss it with them and other times I decide during the game.”
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