The FC Barcelona coach at the press conference on Wednesday / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

The FC Barcelona coach has spoken. Luis Enrique appeared before the press in the press room at the Ciutat Esportiva on the day before his side’s Spanish Cup last 16 second leg contest away at Elche. “We are going into Thursday’s game like we would any other,” he reminded the awaiting press.

Winning is the objective as always: “The goal is to keep winning matches and points. Good football will bring us closer to victory, and that’s why we try to play in an attractive way.” During the season so far the man from Asturias in northern Spain pointed out that his team has had runs of up to “eight successive wins”, something that shows the squad’s competitive nature.

Good football will bring us closer to victory

The second leg of the Cup tie against Elche comes after the blaugranes comprehensive 5-0 victory last week in the first leg at Camp Nou. The coach is keen to see some of the younger players from the B squad in action in the return contest: “Due to rules”, he explained, “only four can play in the starting 11, but we will try to make it so they have as much time as possible on the pitch. They will get a chance to take part.”

The Barça boss also commented on the injury problems of one or two players in the squad. On Neymar: “He is recovering well after an ugly challenge, but that’s football. Fortunately, it’s nothing serious and he should be back soon.” Xavi Hernández meanwhile “is out for tomorrow [Thursday]. He will not play. It’s nothing serious so he will be able to come back quickly.” Asked about Luis Suárez’s form, the former Barça player had this to say about the Uruguayan: “Physically he is in great shape. In footballing terms he is continuing to develop. As games go by we will see that development and I am sure he will offer great things to the team.”

We all think Messi will be at Barça for many years

Asked about Leo Messi and his future at Barça, the coach was unequivocal: “We all think Leo is going to be at Barça for many years. That is what we all want as Barça fans. We are not thinking about him not being in the team next season.”

The immediate future for the team is to keep winning into the second half of the campaign. The coach pointed out that it will be difficult for their rivals “to win everything. We have to take advantage of their mistakes.” He continued: “The league will be decided at the last minute: the Champions League and Cup we will see, they are direct match ups.” The important thing is to follow the current dynamic and remain united: “We are all together: we talk about what things we can improve and how we can hurt our rivals as always. It’s a normal situation for any football team.”

Luis Enrique says the challenge is to keep winning by fcbarcelona
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