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Luis Enrique speaks to the media at the Ritz Carlton, Marina del Rey on Sunday. / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

LOS ANGELES — The first public appearance of members of FC Barcelona in the United States came courtesy of coach Luis Enrique and captain Andres Iniesta, who spoke with both local and Spanish media at a press conference at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Marina del Rey on Sunday afternoon, not long after the team's arrival in Los Angeles.

Both were excited about the challenges that await the team this season. "My goal is to keep everyone motivated and to win the three titles [on the table]," confirmed the coach. Iniesta said: "We have big challenges this season and we want to keep on doing things the right way. Last year was superb, but we still have room for improvement and that's our goal."

"It's always tough after taking some time off," the midfielder pointed out before adding, "
After a week of training in Barcelona, the games on this tour are a good way to start the season. Before the games that count."

Barça face the LA Galaxy on 21 July, followed by Manchester United on 25 July, and then wrap up the US tour on 28 July versus Chelsea. They then fly back to the Old Continent to face Florentina on 2 August. All four games are part of the International Champions Cup. Check out the full schedule of Barça's US Tour, here

"These matches will help get us ready for the start of the official season," the coach concluded.

First official games

The first official game of the season will be the UEFA Super Cup against Sevilla in Tbilisi, Georgia on 11 August. "In principle difficulties always arise in games of this caliber," Luis Enrique said. The Supercopa is sure to be tough. We'll have almost everyone ready," but added, "I don't know who will be out there" until the day of the match. He did guarantee one thing, though: "Those who are in the best shape will play."

The media also asked Iniesta what it was like to begin a season without Xavi for the first time in 17 years. "It's a different feeling. We shared a lot. The group dynamic is different without Xavi," the Barça number eight said. "He was loved and he'll be missed. But we're here to keep doing things the right way. I wish him as much luck as he had with us."

Iniesta also referred to the success of FC Barcelona's recent election day: "It was a very wonderful and important day for the Club. A Lot of people voted and the members decided that Bartomeu should remain president and hopefully this year he'll keep up the good work. And that the Club remain at the forefront."


FC BARCELONA US TOUR - Day 1 by fcbarcelona


Luis Enrique & Iniesta's press conference in... por fcbarcelona

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