Luis Enrique: “We are used to playing every three or four days”

Luis Enrique: “We are used to playing every three or four days”

FC Barcelona manager Luis Enrique underlined during the usual prematch press conference that game 3 of the Champions League won’t be an easy match. “We will have to produce a complete performance to beat Ajax, a team of many strengths. Ajax are a well-structured side, one that knows how to attack, how to press. Last season they created many problems for Barcelona.” said the coach. He had more words of praise for tonight’s opponent and underlined that “Ajax’s positional play is very good. They can play short and long passes and they find solutions in all areas. They press in defence − they don’t hesitate − and counterattack really well.”

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Cartoon of the Day: Sport

Cartoon of the Day: Sport

THE ‘CAVE’ (REAL MADRID PRESS) TRIES TO STIR THE POT OVER MESSI REFUSING TO SUB OUT

LUIS ENRIQUE: “Some people don’t understand that to substitute a good player is not easy… …but to substitute D10S is blasphemous. 

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Luis Enrique: “Totally focused on getting the 3 points”

Luis Enrique: “Totally focused on getting the 3 points”

During his press conference on Friday, Luis Enrique talked about many topics and stressed that the team is ready to earn the three points against SD Eibar on Saturday at the Camp Nou. “I’m only worried about the next opponent, Eibar, and their potential. They’re playing well and could create problems,” said Enrique before adding that he only sees eagerness in his players eyes. “I haven’t seen anything like distractions or players relaxing. Not based on their training. One thing is whether or not they play well.” The coach then added that the players are “totally focused on getting the three points. Records will eventually fall, but we just want to win.” More after the jump.

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First Impressions: Goalkeepers

First Impressions: Goalkeepers

A pause in club football for the international break provides an opportune moment for some reflection and projection. With about a sixth of the season over and done with, the totalBarça writing team looks into “First Impressions” of the Luis Enrique tenure. The series dives into each positional unit and considers whether there is novelty, areas for improvement, issues of concern and more that may factor into how the 2014/15 season could play out.

Considering how little time the two spent together, Alex Song and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen can hardly be remembered as Barça teammates. Yet perhaps Song’s clumsiness in training on August 11th will end up the beginning of the end for Ter Stegen’s FC Barcelona career. If that sounds extreme, it’s because it is. But is it possible? Most definitely. The Cameroonian’s knee into the German’s spine almost certainly stopped Ter-Stegen beginning La Liga as the number one following his excellent pre-season performances and Claudio Bravo’s gaffe against Napoli. So often in professional sports one’s misfortune is another’s blessing. Coincidence, especially timely ones, can seem innocuous at the time nonetheless prove anything but so at the end. With each additional minute Bravo remains unbeaten his roots between the sticks dig in deeper and Barça’s goal keeping situation becomes increasingly nuanced.

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First Impressions: Center-backs

First Impressions: Center-backs

A pause in club football for the international break provides an opportune moment for some reflection and projection. With about a sixth of the season over and done with, the totalBarça writing team looks into “First Impressions” of the Luis Enrique tenure. The series dives into each positional unit and considers whether there is novelty, areas for improvement, issues of concern and more that may factor into how the 2014/15 season could play out.

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Dani Alves: I’m the one with most assists to Messi!

Dani Alves: I’m the one with most assists to Messi!

Dani Alves takes the headlines again reminding people of his worth and his aim to leave a lasting legacy in Barcelona before moving on with his career. The Brazilian right back arrived to Barça during Pep Guardiola’s reign in 2008, and since then he’s won two Champions Leagues, four league titles and many more trophies besides. Last week he made it clear that this was his last season wearing the Blaugrana shirt. But Alves wants to leave on a high. “My wish this year is to have a great year with Barça. I’d like to leave with the feeling that I’ve given everything for this club to continue to be great and continue to write pages of history,” he told La Vanguardia. More from Alves after the jump.

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First Impressions: Forwards

First Impressions: Forwards

A pause in club football for the international break provides an opportune moment for some reflection and projection. With about a sixth of the season over and done with, the totalBarça writing team looks into “First Impressions” of the Luis Enrique tenure. The series dives into each positional unit and considers whether there is novelty, areas for improvement, issues of concern and more that may factor into how the 2014/15 season could play out.

“With Neymar on board, I would have planned for the possibility of selling Messi, and some would agree with that, others not.” That was the legendary Dutch Johan Cruyff’s input on Neymar’s purchase by the club last season. And while the Barça legend might have had a point watching the duo last season, he cannot be any more wrong this season. A new coach, a new striker, and a new system. The cycle begins, and the face of its leader would be Luis Enrique. The former Barça player received a job with many problems. From ageing players, to over-dependence on certain ones, to lack of involvement from others. It was clear, the system had to change, and so far it’s been going smoothly. Let’s take a look on how the roles of the three men up front has changed this season.

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Picture of the day: Caption this

Picture of the day: Caption this

“I, Luis Enrique, give this ball…”  Finish this sentence in the comments.

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First Impressions: Full-backs

First Impressions: Full-backs

A pause in club football provides an opportune moment to do some reflection and projection. With about a sixth of the season over and done with, the totalBarça writing team looks into “First Impressions” of the Luis Enrique tenure. The series dives into each positional unit and considers whether there is novelty, areas for improvement, issues of concern and more that may factor into how the 2014/15 season could play out.

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The records that Bravo could break

The records that Bravo could break

During the game against Rayo Vallencano, Claudio Bravo became the first goalkeeper in La Liga history to keep a clean sheet in the first 630 minutes of play of the season. While this was an incredible feat achieved by the Chilean, it’s only a matter of time before he sets his sights on bigger records. Check out what records are set on the horizon for Mr Claudio Bravo.

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Mendieta: “Luis Enrique’s character is needed”

Mendieta: “Luis Enrique’s character is needed”

Gaizka Mendieta, Luis Enrique’s former FC Barcelona and Spain teammate, has admitted that he did not foresee the Asturian as a coach. “Luis has always been a big fan of football, but personally I don’t know if I’ve seen him as a coach.” Nevertheless, the Spaniard is convinced that Luis Enrique is the right man for the job. “He knows the place perfectly and his character, personality and level of coaching is needed.” Continue reading for more.

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Cartoon of the Day: Sport

Cartoon of the Day: Sport

POSSESSION AND VICTORY

 RAYO: 0

BRAVO: 2

LUIS ENRIQUE: “The possession has returned to us in Vallecas… and he who continues to be ‘possessed’ by the gods, is Claudio”

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Luis Enrique: “Everything means nothing if we don’t win trophies”

Luis Enrique: “Everything means nothing if we don’t win trophies”

After returning to the top of the league table yesterday, Luis Enrique said he was very pleased with the team’s reaction against an exciting opponent like Rayo Vallecano. “The players had the right attitude and performed as they had to against an awkward and hard-working opponent. They played with the required level of intensity.” The win came after a loss in the Champions League and was needed to get  the players back on their feet. “The win has reinforced us.” Continue reading for more from the coach.

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Luis Enrique: “I really like Rayo Vallecano”

Luis Enrique: “I really like Rayo Vallecano”

FC Barcelona switch their focus once again to La Liga after a difficult trip to Paris, and the upcoming opponent is one that Luis Enrique is very fond of. “Rayo is a team I especially like. They make things difficult and no how to move the ball. It’s a nice example of a team without a lot of money and that’s fun to watch,” Lucho said. “I really like the team and their coach.” As always, there’s more after the jump!

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Mascherano: “I would like to end my European career at Barça”

Mascherano: “I would like to end my European career at Barça”

Barcelona midfielder/defender Javier Mascherano gave a recent interview about the season so far, coach Luis Enrique, and his fervent desire to see out his career in Europe at Barça. More after the jump.

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Ter Stegen called up for U-21 Germany squad

Ter Stegen called up for U-21 Germany squad

Marc-André Ter Stegen has been called up for Germany’s U-21 squad for the two 2016 Olympic qualifying matches against Ukraine.

The games are on October 10 and 14 and he is not the only FC Barcelona player to have been called up. Neymar Jr, Luis Suárez, Leo Messi, Javier Mascherano and Rafinha Alcantara have been called up as well for their respective national teams.

The players are expected to leave for their international duties after the game against Rayo Vallecano is over, leaving Luis Enrique with a small squad to train with.

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Xavi: We have a team to fight for all three titles

Xavi: We have a team to fight for all three titles

During an event in Barcelona on Thursday, Xavi Hernández spoke to the press about team’s progress so far this season and he was optimistic. “We are doing well, in general this is a good moment for us, we are taking on what the coach is asking of us and there’s a good feeling.” 

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Messi: “Neymar and I understand each other”

Messi: “Neymar and I understand each other”

Lionel Messi spoke to the media on Thursday during the club’s new sponsor’s ‘Gillette’ presentation, and the Argentinean made it clear that he’s optimistic of the team’s options this season. “We’re working well in training and we are trying to carry that forward into the games. The team is growing and we are on the right track. There’s more to come once we take everything on board that the boss is asking of us.” Read More from Barça’s all time goalscorer after the jump.

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Luis Enrique:” I think we could have drawn”

Luis Enrique:” I think we could have drawn”

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.

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Luis Enrique: “We are ready for whatever PSG do”

Luis Enrique: “We are ready for whatever PSG do”

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.

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Number of the Day: 33

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.

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Mathieu: “Lucho right coach for Barça”

Mathieu: “Lucho right coach for Barça”

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.”

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Luis Enrique: “Messi touched by a magic wand”

Luis Enrique: “Messi touched by a magic wand”

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.

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Copa Catalunya in doubt

Copa Catalunya in doubt

Espanyol are threatening not to play the upcoming Copa Catalunya if opponents Barcelona continue with a policy of not playing their best side in the supposedly showpiece event. Find out why the neighbors are being testy after the jump.

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Luis Enrique: “It’s great that more teams fight for the title”

Luis Enrique: “It’s great that more teams fight for the title”

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.”

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BREAKING NEWS: Sergi Roberto signs until 2019

BREAKING NEWS: Sergi Roberto signs until 2019

Sergi Roberto have signed a new contract with FC Barcelona that ties him to the club until the summer of 2019. The 22 year-old midfielder has put pen to paper this morning in Josep Bartomeu’s office and was joined by the director of sport, Andoni Zubizarreta and general director, Antoni Rossich.

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Luis Enrique: “The first step is to beat Málaga”

Luis Enrique: “The first step is to beat Málaga”

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.

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Number of the day: 90

Number of the day: 90

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.

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Luis Enrique: “I was happy with all of them”

Luis Enrique: “I was happy with all of them”

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.”

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Cartoon of the Day: Sport

Cartoon of the Day: Sport

LUIS ENRIQUE DOES NOT ANNOUNCE THE STARTING LINEUP

LUIS ENRIQUE: “I want my players to know… …that I won’t marry anyone …at the moment”

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