Luis Enrique was speaking at a press conference ahead of the trip to Mestalla / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Barça face one of the trickiest away trips of the season this Sunday (9.00 PM CET) at Valencia, and Luis Enrique discussed the game in his press conference on Saturday. “They are on a different level compared to other seasons” he observed. “And they’re very strong in their stadium. They have made good new signings in all areas, like Negredo, and young players like Alcácer and Gayà have been confirmed”.

Barça are on a four-match winning streak, and their manager comments that “if you’re scared of losing, you don’t leave the house … Winning at Mestalla would be a huge boost on top of the good sensations of the last few weeks”.Valencia are on another level compared to other seasons

Andrés Iniesta has been declared back to full fitness in time for the match, and Luis Enrique says that “we always miss injured players, but out rule is just to talk about the players we do have and not the ones that are out … After a muscle injury we always have to be cautious and get him back into the right rhythm for playing.” While there was good news about Iniesta, Vermaelen will undergo surgery this week, and on this matter, the Asturian said that “injuries happen in professional football. But time flies and we’ll have him playing for us soon enough. But I don’t think we have any intention of signing any new players in the winter transfer window.”

Luis Enrique was also quizzed about Leo Messi, whose magnificent week has seen him score back-to-back hat-tricks and beat both Zarra’s Liga and Raul’s Champions League all-time goalscoring records. “For me, Messi is the world player of the year” he insisted, but refused to comment on Michel Platini’s idea that the Ballon d'Or should be awarded to a German. Another name to come up was that of Montoya, who isn’t getting to play much this season. “He’s an example of a true professional” was the response. “He is quite capable of playing for the team and if he’s not, then that’s totally my decision. I may be right or I may be wrong, but that’s my decision.”Of course I think Messi has been the best player in the world this year

The team trained on Saturday morning after an unusual Friday session, when the coach took his players go-karting. Luis Enrique was asked what that was all about, and answered that “I’m the kind of manager that likes to arrange team-building activities. It is important for the players to relate to each in different situations, and it also gives them a break from the usual routine.”

115th anniversary

Today is the 115th anniversary of the official foundation of FC Barcelona and Luis Enrique congratulated the club and all Barça supporters, saying that “it is a real honour to have formed part of Barça history in different roles as a player and as a coach."

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