Luis Enrique was speaking to the press after training on Tuesday / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

Luis Enrique believes that the Catalan Super Cup match against Espanyol on Wednesday has come at the perfect time. “It’s a chance to turn things around” he told today’s press conference, referring to the need to restore morale after the setback at the Santiago Bernabéu. “We’ll be going there looking to win the game and claim the trophy” he promised. “We need to forget the game the other day … But it will also be a nice chance to give a run-out to players that haven’t got to play much this year, and also some of the players from the reserves that did so well in the preseason.”We could easily have gone 2-0 up against Madrid and won the corner count 9-3On the matter of Saturday’s Clasico, Luis Enrique was willing to accept that the best team won. “But I am glad that the players and staff were ready to be self-critical after the game” he commented. “I take full responsibility for the defeat. It had nothing to do with problems with fitness or attitude. It was particular circumstances during the match that affected the team.” The manager insists that he knows perfectly well where the problems lie, but that he has no intention of speaking publicly about the issue, and also refused to comment on any of his players’ medical issues, insisting that these were private matters between them and their doctors.

“I would pick the same eleven again” he replied when asked whether he regretted any aspect of his team selection on Saturday. “You never know how a game is going to pan out, and there were things I didn’t expect from Real Madrid. Knowing that I would certainly have planned things differently,  but it’s very easy to be wise after the event.”

He refused to accept the suggestion that against Madrid, his team adopted a different system to that which we are used to seeing them use. “Far from it, we stayed more than loyal to our way of playing football” he argued. “Particularly in the second half, I'll admit that we didn't play our best. But we tried to dominate possession, we were brave, we got nine corners and they only got three, and we created so much pressure early on that we could easily have gone 2-0 up.”It’s never nice for a Barça fan to see their team lose at the Bernabéu. But I'm not especially upset about itThe Asturian also asked the press not to get too carried away with the potential importance of losing at the Bernabéu. “It’s never nice for a Barça fan to see their team lose there” he insisted. “But I am not especially upset about it. If anything, it’s renewed our motivation. At the end of the day, we are joint leaders after nine games, and for me it’s much more important to be top of the league than to have beaten Real Madrid. I’d happily settle for getting beaten at the Camp Nou against Madrid, Atlético and anybody else as long as we end up winning the title.”