HÉRCULES - BARCELONA
Luis Enrique: "My squad's the best; I'm still the same boring fool"
The coach was at his acidic best when asked about El Clásico: “Do I like Clos Gómez? Physically? Good question. The light's on, but there's nobody home...”
Focus on the Cup
The air was heavy with expectation in this afternoon's press conference as Luis Enrique reflceted on Barça's draw at Anoeta which has left his side six points behind Real Madrid ahead of Saturday's Clásico. The coach also looked ahead to tomorrow's Copa del Rey opener against Hércules.
What kind of game are you expecting against Hércules?: “We will be starting a competition which bring back a lot of good memories for us, I am sure it will be an attractive game. Cup ties are different situation. Knowing [Hércules coach, Luis] Tevenet, I'm sure he's got a surprise or two ready for us. Our objective is to win the Copa del Rey and to do that, we need to put in a good game against Hércules. Any game can present complications and this one won't be any different, but we are ready”.
How is the team in terms of spirit?: “They're fine. We took more than what we deserved from San Sebastián. But the players are all fine. Drawing matches or dropping points forms part of what you go through during a season”.
Days off to unwind
Have some players been granted time off: “I've given of the players a couple of days off, others, just one day. I'll announce the squad list tomorrow morning. I'll try to field what I consider to be the best team”.
Iniesta is suspended for tomorrow's game but will he be fit for El Clásico?: “Andrés is waiting to be given the medical all-clear but that is merely a formality because he's training with us and he's fit to play. He won't play tomorrow, but he's available for selection”.
Can you understand that some fans are worried? “I understand practically every situation, how am I not going to understand? I give my opinion after every game. What I believe is evident is that we need to improve and be more consistent but I don't see any reason to feel worried - especially as we are still the favourites to win all of the competitions we are in but we know that to do that we have to improve. There's no need to exaggerate - like you did in my first year when we went on to win the treble…”.
The Chapoecoense tragedy: “It's a huge blow and will require a thorough investigation. I'm deeply saddened by it and I share the pain of those who lost family members or friends”.
This day five years ago, Barça thrashed Madrid 5-0: “I don't remember anything about it. But I'd like to. We'll talk about El Clásico the day before as we always do and I've got nothing left to say on the matter”.
You've said that this is the best squad you have ever had, is that why you only made one substitution in Anoeta? "That phrase was like a boomerang - I said knowing full well that one day it would come right back to me. I said it was the best squad and that they needed to confirm that. I still think the same although we still have a lot of games to get through. The squad is the best squad of the last three years and I am still the same boring old fool”.
Do you like [referee who will be in charge of Saturday's Clásico, Carlos] Clos Gómez? “Do I like him physically? I can't remember if he is tall, short, or if he's blonde. Good question. The light's on, but there's nobody home...”