Eschewing his habitual recital outlining FC Barcelona’s approach in the face of yet another opponent ready and willing to capitulate in the battle for possession in exchange for a low-risk defensive scheme and a chance to yield dividends on the counterattack, Luis Enrique Martínez sang to a different tune when queried about Saturday’s La Liga adversaries, UD Las Palmas, the eighth-place side from the Canary Islands, during Friday’s press conference.

“We are up against a side that has a similar philosophy to ours," he said. “They battle for the ball, and they try to use it to open up spaces and create chances.”

In addition to his tacit acknowledgement that Barça were up against a formidable challenge Saturday, the Blaugrana manager sprinkled on a dash of flattery.

“As a fan, they’re one of the most entertaining teams to watch,” he said.

The message was unambiguous. Las Palmas, whose position in the La Liga pecking order has them within earshot of a coveted spot in European play next season, are no pushovers.

“It will be tough to take the ball away from them,” he said. “This is an important game at home, and we need to starting racking up points, but this opponent will make it tough through possession-based football.”

Here are the highlights of what else Luis Enrique had to say.

On Luis Suárez’s 100th Barça goal:

“It’s crazy. There are very few players in the world who can put up those kinds of numbers. Those of us who believed in him were not mistaken, with regard to both his play and the way he is as a person.”

On Barça having been drawn against Real Sociedad in the Copa del Rey quarterfinals:

“We found out who we were playing during the training session. We haven’t had the best of luck at their grounds. It will be a difficult tie. Real have one of the best playing styles and Eusebio is doing a great job there. It won’t be anything like a league encounter but it will have added difficulties.”

On Leo Messi’s great success on scoring free-kick goals:

“Leo almost doesn’t even need to practice free kicks. He can do it from any angle, at any height, and from either side. It’s just one more part of his repertoire.”

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