Luis Enrique held a Saturday lunchtime press conference. / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Luis Enrique expressed his admiration for Sunday lunchtime’s opponents Rayo Vallecano when he spoke to the press on Saturday morning. Paco Jemez’s side can be expected to go into the game with a positive attitude and the boss is well aware that his players will have to be focussed on the job in hand.

Rayo’s threat

“All opponents pose their own threat, but Rayo are one of the teams with most personality in the league.”

 “They are one of the few teams who will be challenging for possession. We are really looking forward to this game.”

 “If they pressure us well and we aren’t at our very best then we will suffer. Just like when we play teams who come and park the bus, we’ll have to find a solution or the game could get difficult.”

Paco Jémez

“I played with him, but I never imagined that behind that tough centre half there was a coach with such an attacking mentality.”

 “He has shown that he can be brave and that even with a small budget you can play attractive football. He is one of the best coaches in the competition and it would be good to see him at a bigger club with more potential.”

Kick off time

“It’s neither better nor worse for us, it’s just different. It changes everything – the routine is different from when you play at night or in the evening but it’s a similar time to when we normally train so, instead of training, we play a match!”

 “It doesn’t matter if I like the time or not, we have to play then and that is something we have no control over. It’s the same for both teams so there can be no excuses.”

Starting XI

“With Sergio Busquets out, there are plenty of players who can come in – there’s Mascherano, it’s his natural position, or Xavi, Sergi Roberto or Rakitic.”

Pedro has a lot of individual qualities, he’s good one on one and he scores goals.”

Jémez's positive approach

Rayo Vallecano also held a press conference on Saturday morning and he made clear his side’s positive approach to the game: “we are not going to come out just to defend and avoid a big defeat. I will ensure my players are focussed and up for the game. It’s a reward for them to play at the Camp Nou and if anyone is only putting in 50%, they won’t last a minute on the pitch.”

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