Luis Enrique, speaking to reporters at Friday's press conference. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

Barça head coach Luis Enrique Martinez appeared in Friday's press conference before Saturday's visit to Elche. He was clear: "The league is full of surprises, there is no such thing as an easy game. We've prepared with that in mind. Without intensity, anyone can make your life difficult." He did not want to reference the recent Cup tie between the two teams. "It will be difficult for sure. There will be little space and they'll try to counter. That happens in every game."

Thrilled with Luis Suárez

Over the team's current five-game winning streak, he saw them physically strong. He said Rakitic was left out of the squad versus Elche, but clarified: "There's no problem, he's a very important player." About the injured Mathieu, Luis Enrique said: "He's almost ready. He got scratched with a boot, but he'll be fine." There are few players who move into the area better than Suárez.
He also spoke emphatically about Luís Suárez. "It seems that he's a bit far away from the goal, but that happens to all forwards. He still provides a lot on offense." He added: "There are few players who move into the area better than Suárez. I'm not worried. Scoring is natural, he'll get there." The coach is also very satisfied with the performance of goalkeepers Bravo, Ter Stegen, and Masip. "I have three top keepers; we did a great job after losing Víctor Valdés," he said.

Without intensity anything is tough, says Luis... by fcbarcelona

Qatar friendly off

In the end, Barça will not play a friendly in Qatar as originally scheduled for February 4th. Luis Enrique said it was "very positive news for the team", although he understood that "the Club has a number of commitments." The coach also admitted that not playing the game was a request from the coaches and former sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta, president, because, they felt, Barça is in the middle of a very demanding stage of the season.

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