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Luis Enrique: “We're going to fight for the title until the end”

The Barcelona boss confirmed that Gerard Piqué is unlikely to play in Las Palmas, leading to a reshuffle of the back line with Marlon in the squad.


Luis Enrique will be forced to reorganize his back four for the trip to Las Palmas on Sunday after centre back Gerard Piqué was "almost certainly" ruled out of their penultimate league game by the Barça boss.

Enrique said the Spain international had been feeling unwell during the week and was unlikely to make the long flight to the Canary Islands, leaving Barça short-staffed at the back with Sergi Roberto suspended and Jérémy Mathieu and Aleix Vidal both injured.

Piqué, known for his business interests outside of soccer, was in the Spanish capital this week attending the Madrid Open and trying to progress his plan to set up a new international tennis tournament to rival the Davis Cup.

Luis Enrique could return to the 3-4-3 formation he used during March but which has fallen out of favour in recent weeks.

The coach, however, kept his cards close to his chest when asked how he will cope with the sudden scarcity of defenders.

Luis Enrique: "My players are ready and capable"

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Alex CaparrosGetty Images

"Piqué is almost certainly out, he's been unable to train all week due to feeling ill," the coach told a news conference.

"I have different options in how I prepare for the game and my players are ready and capable. It's an exciting challenge to see how we overcome these difficulties."

The Barcelona boss also hinted that Barcelona B defender Marlon Santos, on loan from Fluminense, may play some part in the Estadio Gran Canaria: "He's one of the options we have and he'll be making the trip with us."

Liga title race down to the wire

Champions Barça top the standings from Real Madrid due to their superior head-to-head record.

Yet Madrid, who are also on 84 points, have a game in hand and will win a first title in five years if they take seven points from their remaining three fixtures.

Even though Madrid are better placed in the title chase, Luis Enrique said his players still believe they can pip their rivals to the prize and are fully focused on their last two games, against Las Palmas and Eibar.

"The players' mentality is to exhaust our chances of winning all the trophies we can, and we're going to fight for the title until the end," he added. "Anything can happen."


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