Luis Enrique confirmed Barcelona’s objective is to finish top of their Champions League group and want to send that message out by beating BATE Borisov on Wednesday night at Camp Nou.
“It’s positive we can qualify [tomorrow], that’s because we have done well in the group,” explained the Asturian coach.
“If we think about the difficulties we had in Belarus, we know we will need to play a complete game. The objective is to win and stay at the top of the group.
“First qualify, then try and win the group. Then it all depends on who comes second in the groups, in theory, as there could be a lot of surprises – but we will fight to finish top of the group. To do that, we need to win points.”
He also spoke about a variety of other issues:
Controversies: “Beyond what’s happened, what we know is that the fans will support us in everything connected to sport. We go to the stadium tomorrow to play football and to try and qualify in the Champions League. That’s what we are interested in — and the fans, too.”
Sergi Roberto, picked for Spain? “That would be great. It’s great for any player to go to Euro 2016 and Sergi’s a player I had with Barça B and I know him well. It would be great news for him, but it’s difficult to play for any national team, especially Spain, there’s a lot of great players. But I think he has the quality to play [for Spain].”
Leo Messi: “I have no news on Messi’s injury. He’s recovering normally for any player with that type of injury. As far as I know, nothing negative or positive to say. When we have Messi we have a certain number of resources we like to exploit, if he’s not playing others have to do things. But I always ask my players to do what they can, regardless of if he’s on the field.”
Thomas Vermaelen: “Vermaelen’s words are supported by what he does on the pitch. In training he’s good, powerful, quality player. It’s a shame he’s had this injury, perhaps because he played so many games in a short space of time. But it’s good to have him back, he will help us.”
Alen Halilovic: “Halilovic is at a good place, where he can play games and he’s doing well. Still improving and he’s having a very useful season at Sporting, but he needs to keep improving to get into our first team, but he has all he needs to do so.”
Playing a 4-4-2: “No, in principle I won’t use 4-4-2. I will use other systems, adapting to the players I have. So yes, we may think about changing the system.”
What is modern football? “It’s a spectacle, it’s a sport, although there are certain standard that have changed as the sport evolves… players, coaches, media. Still the king of sports on a world level, it’s generally adapted to the world media, which requires a different kind of professionalism.”