The first loss of the season came at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the Parc des Princes and Luis Enrique confessed that PSG were better in taking their chances. “PSG took their chances and made the most of our mistakes. … I’m not in the slightest bit bothered about losing the lead. I’m worried about getting back the good feelings for the next few games … We made mistakes getting the ball out and that gave away set pieces. When you’re behind in a game, it’s very hard to turn it around.” However, the loss is not the end of the world and it was coming sooner or later. Losing in the early stages of the season is better than losing at the end.
FC Barcelona have responded to critics after a goalless draw against Málaga CF in magnificent fashion with a glorious win over Granada CF at Camp Nou, and now it is time for the season’s first big test against French champions Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). Luis Enrique said that he considers PSG one of the best in Europe and described them as “a fearsome and dangerous team. They have resources. They are a candidate to win the Champions League.” Continue reading for more.
On Tuesday two former teammates on the pitch become adversaries on the benches. Laurent Blanc and Luis Enrique both joined FC Barcelona the 1996/97 season as free agents, playing in 33 games together, of which 22 were victories and 6 were defeats. That would be Blanc’s only season in blaugrana, moving on to Marseille, but Luis Enrique stayed and enjoyed many successful seasons.
FC Barcelona defender Jérémy Mathieu (30), spoke briefly to the club’s media ahead of the Champions League encounter versus Paris Saint-Germain.
“They [PSG] are a group of players with a lot of skill, but without Ibrahimovic they aren’t the same side. We will have to be 100% focused in defence against them because they are full of talent,” the Frenchman said. In regards to his new coach, Mathieu said that Luis Enrique is “the right coach for Barça. He is very ambitious and is clear about his ideas and how we should play.” As to his feelings about playing in the biggest stadium in Europe, he admitted, “You have to be focused for 90 minutes. You feel more pressure because you are wearing the Barça shirt.”
After a perfect performance from the team against Granada, Luis Enrique had nothing but praise for his players. “I thought we were intense, precise, ambitious, and solid on defence,” said the former Celta Vigo coach, “The players really did well tonight stopping the other team,” he said before adding, “This is the way to win.” More from the Barça boss after the jump.
Luis Enrique gave his typical Friday conference ahead of the league game against Granada CF and spoke about the mouth-watering match against Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League. During the press conference, the boss stated that Granada ” is strong defensively, they work hard, and run smooth transitions. This will not be an easy opponent” before adding, “we don’t want to be predictable.”
Luis Enrique, confident and motivated as always, spoke ahead of FC Barcelona’s away game against Málaga CF. This will be the team’s fifth La Liga game, and Barcelona are currently on top of the league after recording four wins from four games. However, Luis Enrique insisted that there remains much work to be done, and the season is just beginning. “My only obsession is making this team better.” Continue reading for more.
Ivan Rakitić played an excellent game against Levante UD which ended 5-0 in favor of FC Barcelona. The Croatian saved a definite goal from the sidelines with the character of a fighter and minutes later he fired a rocket to give the Catalans a 2-0 lead.
‘Rocketić’s’ blast reached 90km/hr which made it impossible for Levante’s goal-keeper, Jesús Fernández, to save it. The Croatian midfielder has won the trust of Luis Enrique, his teammates and the fans due to his hard work and determination. Actions such as his fighting spirit to block a shot from entering in Claudio Bravo’s goal makes him a special player in the Barça team.
Luis Enrique was very happy following FC Barcelona’s thrashing of Levante UD (5-0). However, he did not want to draw any conclusions about La Liga. “We’ll talk about our league position later, we’ve hardly played any games yet,” he said.
The boss was content to yet again have a clean sheet, making it 4 out of 4 clean sheets so far, and stressed that it is the result of the hard work put in by the entire team. “Goes to show even more our idea of playing as team … Rather than singling anyone out in particular, I’ll just say that I was happy with all of them.”
“Always stay focused on the next game,” that was Luis Enrique’s message to his players on Saturdays’s pre match press conference ahead of Sunday’s game against Levante UD. The coach insisted that all people should be focusing on the next game, and that “general evaluations can be left until the end of the season.” Lucho continued, “The idea is to beat them. And depending on how we do, we’ll see where we stand. I haven’t been worrying about having to play seven games in 21 days. There’s only one game that we can control at the moment, and that’s the next one. My message to the players is to always stay focused on the next game.” More from the Asturian after the jump.
Luis Enrique’s men earned an important three points against APOEL on Wednesday, but it was far from a comprehensive victory. While the game may not have been much to watch, it touched on a number of key issues for the season and left the Barça coach with plenty to say. Xavi Hernandez,Dani Alves, and Marc Bartra – all returning to the starting lineup – added comments of their own. Read on below for more.
The wait is finally over. FC Barcelona are hours away from facing Cyprus’ APOEL FC in this season’s first Champions League game as Luis Enrique and his players start their journey towards glory. The coach has called upon the fans to come and support the players at Camp Nou ahead of the long-awaited return to the European stages. “We need our fans and we’ll try to give them a spectacular game … Three points against APOEL FC would be very important for us.” Continue reading for more.
The FC Barcelona striker, Pedro Rodríguez, spoke to the press ahead of the first game in the new UEFA Champions League campaign beginning against APOEL Nicosia FC and stressed that the team is motivated and eager to do better than last season. Pedro is yet to score but he is optimistic, “I might not be getting goals, but I’m happy with the way things are going and I’m sure they’ll start coming. The important thing is that the team is working well”.
The Canary Islander spoke of Luis Enrique’s ideas saying that “the basic idea is still the same. Perhaps we should try to get closer to the area and not play so wide. But we feel comfortable with our game, we’re doing fine … The boss has asked us to create pressure up front, to win back the ball and keep it for ourselves. We’re doing that well and teams don’t create many chances against us. But there’s a lot we have to improve”.
FC Barcelona manager Luis Enrique spoke with the press after Saturday’s game against Athletic Club. He said that he was happy with the teams performance and heaped praise on Messi. The Basque side made life difficult for the Catalans for nearly the entire match but then Messi assisted two chances that Neymar Jr slotted home to end the match 2-0 for Barça.
During the post match conference, Luis Enrique praised the game of Messi saying that “Messi is not just the best player in the world for the goals he scores, or for his assists, but for everything. He is the best player in the world even in defence, that is the perfect version of Messi. Messi is outside all praise.” He also added that, “He does things you do not see even in Oliver and Benji [a childrens' cartoon], or the Playstation, what he does touches the impossible. We have got used to it, but it is a delight and a privilege to have the best player in the world in your team. Without a doubt.”
Read more from the Barça boss after the jump.
Luis Enrique spoke very fondly of FC Barcelona’s La Liga opponent, Athletic Club Bilbao, following the end of the international break. “Everything about Athletic worries me. They’ve been playing well for several seasons. They’re the best team at creating attacking pressure. It’s always very motivational to be able to play Athletic,” he said. Luis Enrique will not be expecting Athletic to sit at the back, but to attack aggressively and provide a real test for the defenders. Continue reading for more.
FC Barcelona defender Adriano Correia (29) spoke in Wednesday’s press conference where he talked about the changes under new coach Luis Enrique. The full back, who suffered a heart-rate problem that kept him sidelined for several weeks, has returned to full training and looks like he’ll start playing once again. “It was quite a fright when they discovered that I had cardiac problems” he said. “A lot of things go through your head. In a clinical sense, I knew that I was in good hands. And I have a lot of faith and am thinking about it less and less with each day … I’m feeling fine now. The issue has passed. It could be solved and now I’m back training 100% and looking forward to getting started and enjoying my football.” More from the Brazilian after the jump.
Much has been made of the overhaul Barcelona’s first team has undergone this summer. 2014 has seen the departure of Victor Valdés and Carles Puyol, over 150 million euros spent in the transfer market, and what feels like a return to Pep Guardiola’s values with Luis Enrique. In particular, much has been made of Luis Enrique’s use of the youth team in preseason and the first two Liga games, in which 19-year-olds Munir El Haddadi and Sandro Ramirez each made their first-team debuts and scored.
A statistic making the rounds of late shows that Luis Enrique has already featured Barça B players more than Gerardo Martino did all last season. With Luis Suárez still banned and a sulking Gerard Deulofeu shipped out on loan, culés are delighted to have a seemingly ceaseless conveyor belt of talented youths to fill the gaps. Indeed, Barcelona B is brimming with talent in nearly every position, and seems perfectly situated to supplement the first team through the 2015 transfer ban. The timing couldn’t be better. Yet amidst the overwhelming focus on Luis Enrique and Andoni Zubizarreta’s renewal of the first team, few have drawn attention to the quiet work at Barcelona B over the last few years that have brought these talents to the surface. Read on after the jump.
José Mourinho, despite having been an FC Barcelona employee in the past, is definitely not a favourite at the Camp Nou. However, this time around the so-called ‘Special One’ seems to have put his feelings for Barça aside, as he has openly expressed his appreciation for new Barça coach Luis Enrique. Lucho did of course return the nice words by wishing the Chelsea coach good luck. Read more after the jump…
Once again, a Barça B striker has helped FC Barcelona win all three points early in La Liga’s title race, and this time it was Sandro Ramírez with the winning goal. In his post-match presser, Luis Enrique was overjoyed with the influence these young stars are having on the first team as they show the world the quality of players La Masia continues to produce. “I’m pleased to see that the youngsters are helping us so much. We are happy for him [Sandro] and with all of the hard work that the young players are doing.” Continue reading for more from the boss.