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“That’s a question for Pep and Busquets, not Luis Enrique”

Ahead of tomorrow's trip to Mestalla, the Barcelona manager refused to be drawn in to talking about the transfer speculation linking some of his key players to other clubs
Villarreal-Barcelona live online

Luis Enrique, en rueda de prensa.

Luis Enrique sat through his pre-match media obligations today ahead of Wednesday night’s Copa del Rey semi-final second leg clash with Valencia, an effective formality of a tie given Barcelona’s 7-0 aggregate lead from last week. In spite of the optimistic mood around tomorrow’s game, the Asturian coach’s ire was provoked on a number of occasions as he was asked to comment on the rumours linking Dani Alves to China and Sergio Busquets to Manchester City. Such was the Barca coach’s irritation with the line of questioning, he even began to refer to himself in the third person.

How do you prepare for a game with a 7-0 cushion?

We’ve been preparing for this game the exact same way we would have had we picked up a bad result last week. We have to think about what we need to do.

Busquets says that the only two people capable of convincing him to leave Barcelona are his wife and Pep Guardiola? Do you think he’ll leave?

That’s a question for Guardiola and Busquets, not Luis Enrique.

Offers from China for Dani Alves.

Usually what I say to players at the club remains private. I’m going to keep those conversations private and so is the club. The speculation can wait until the end of the season.

Continuing on the topic of Daniel Alves, the Chinese transfer window stays open until 26 February...

I’m not an expert on the Chinese transfer market but we’re not in a position to let players go. I don’t see any players leaving.

With Messi undergoing a kidney operation, do you think he’ll play on Sunday?

The club has released a medical report explaining the situation. What happens next is Leo’s business. I have no further comment to make.

The team is on the cusp of breaking the ‘29 games unbeaten’ record.

That record is not something I use to motivate the players. Stats are great as long as they help us towards winning titles.

The dependency on Busquets.

He came on for the last 25 minutes the other day. He had played the most number of minutes of any player on the team. He’s a world class player and I don’t need to praise him any further.

Do you see Guardiola’s appointment at Manchester City as a threat to your team?


Would you like to play the final at the Bernabeu?

I’m not that bothered about where the final is played. The first thing we need to do is get there. After that it’ll be the same song and dance as last year. What matters most is that there are goal posts and places for the fans to sit.

The competition between Aleix and Dani Alves at right back.

I’d also include Sergi Roberto in that conversation. I’m delighted with how all of them are doing. Dani is extremely competitive and always gives his all like the professional he is. Aleix has adapted very well and Sergi has already proven himself plenty of times. I couldn’t ask for better options at right back. I’m very happy with the situation.