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Luis Enrique hopes to see out the year with a win / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

[[DES_1]]An amazing 2015 at Barça comes to an end on Wednesday, but Luis Enrique insists that the end of the season is the time for reviewing how things have gone. Speaking before the last game of the year, at home to Betis, the Asturian commented that “the only important thing is to get three points and extend our lead at the top of the table.”

The first game after winning the Club World Cup and then having a few welcome days off for Christmas is “an attractive one for us. It’s stimulating. There’s always a bit of worry about tiredness after the players have taken some time off, but after watching them train this morning, I have every reason to feel optimistic.”

Before the two wins in Japan, Barça were held to back-to-back draws in La Liga, but the manager played down the relevance of the four dropped points. He also wished to highlight that Barça are still first, on goal difference ahead of Atlético Madrid, and with a game in hand.

Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal are dying to get out on the pitchJanuary brings a heavily loaded fixture list, with Copa del Rey matches in addition to the league programme, meaning Luis Enrique will probably need to think about rotating his bench. “To help with that, we’ve got two new players coming in” he said in reference to Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal. “But we’ll need to bring them in gradually so that they can get back into the right rhythm. They’re dying to get out there and start helping the team on the pitch, and not just from the side-lines. They’ve settled in very nicely and now all that remains is for them to start enjoying their football for real”.

As for Betis, a team that has won half of its games away from home (four out of eight), Luis Enrique commented that “they have players that can make a big difference, like Joaquín and Ceballos, as well as goal-getters like Jorge Molina and Rubén Castro”.

He ended by answering a question about the winter transfer window, which is about to open. “At Barça we always have an eye on the market” he said before candidly adding that “we plan for everything. There may be new faces, other players might leave.” But as for details, he wasn’t giving anything away.


Luis Enrique oozes optimism ahead of last game... por fcbarcelona

Getting used to afternoon starts

Four of Barça’s five Liga games in January will start at 4.00pm CET, something Luis Enrique knows he just has to come to terms with: “We don’t assess kick-off times because they’re not something we can influence, only adapt to” he said on Tuesday. “And the positive thing is it means we see a lot of children in the stands.”

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