Luis Enrique: "I’d give a ‘B’ grade to the team despite the defeats"
"Players will only leave if they wish to do so", commented Luis Enrique, ahead of tomorrow’s Trofeo Gamper: "A great tournament and a special night for the fans".
Gamper: “The Gamper is a special game as it re-unites us with our supporters. Always a special match with a great atmosphere. It’s always great to play in front of your home fans again and I hope it’s a great game”.
Transfer market: “There will be no new signings and players will only leave if they wish to go. As of today, there is nothing new on that front”.
Pedro’s future: “Pedro is a top player and I hope he stays but it will be his decision”.
Messi and Neymar’s physical shape: "I’m happy with every player’s behavior and their professional attitude”.
Mascherano, fourth captain: "I’m pleased for Mascherano but there are other players with their own profile and presence in the dressing room".
The best and worst of this pre-season? “The best is that it’s nearly over. I’m not one for pre-season. I prefer competitive games. I’m satisfied on a collective level but there a few defensive aspects that we need to work on. In general, I’d say it was an acceptable pre-season”.
Are you worried about Sevilla? “We prefer to worry about ourselves. Sevilla have had to adapt to losing players but they are always a competitive team and end up finishing well in the table. Their pre-season results are anecdotal”.
Will having Messi and Neymar back make you more relaxed about your forward line? “We always try and create plenty of chances. What does make the difference effectiveness and the arrival of these players will certainly help matters”.
You once said that it’s not such a good idea to start off too well in pre-season. Do you need to keep Suárez in check? “No-one is 100% at peak fitness. Certain players are younger and that is a factor. Suarez’s first pre-season with us was eternal for him and he’s proven to be a great reinforcement for us”.