Luis Enrique speaks with Javier Mascherano before Friday's training session at the Ciutat Esportiva in Sant Joan Despí. / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Following the international hiatus that saw his stars in action abroad and his remaining players enjoy some down time, Luis Enrique was back on the dais just before lunchtime on Friday, this time to talk about Saturday’s match in the Spanish capital versus Atlético Madrid.

"I expect a tough game regardless of the break. The visit [to Madrid] in itself presents certain difficulties," the coach warned. "If we don't play a good match, Atlético will hurt us. The [international] hiatus is not an excuse, neither for us nor for our rivals."

"We're going there convinced we can win," Luis Enrique continued, while extolling the virtues of Atlético. "They re-armed themselves very, very well this summer."

In typical Luis Enrique fashion, he not only smoothly answered the questions thrown his way regarding his tactical expectations for Barça’s next game, but the Asturias native waxed philosophically on a flock of other issues, including defender Gerard Piqué’s press conference on Thursday as well other team affairs such the squad list for Saturday, Barça's current goalkeeping situation — in light of Claudio Bravo's recent injury — and the treacherous early-season calendar. Here are the highlights of what he had to say:

On Gerard Piqué's recent declarations:

"Piqué is a splendid guy, he's sincere and he's original."

On Barça's goalkeeping situation:

"I'm very confident in both [ter Stegen and Jordi Masip], just like with the rest of their teammates."

On his team's early-season fixtures:

"It might be tough for us, but if you look at any other coach they might say, 'we've got a tough fixture list too.' That's the calendar and I can't change it or use it as an excuse for what happens."

"It's difficult but it's also pretty attractive to have so many great games [early in the season]."

Press conference Luis Enrique por fcbarcelona
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