Luis Enrique: Real Madrid's problems are exaggerated

The Barcelona coach does not believe the mood in the opposition camp is as bad as has been suggested and insisted Saturday’s Clasico will not prove decisive in the title race

Luis Enrique believes Real Madrid’s problems have been exaggerated and insists Saturday’s Clasico will not prove decisive in the race for the league title.

Barcelona head to the Santiago Bernabeu with a three-point advantage at the top of the table and with Madrid reportedly in disarray amid speculation senior players are disgruntled with the tactics employed by new boss Rafa Benitez.

But Luis Enrique, who played for both clubs, says suggestions Barcelona can move in to an unassailable lead by beating their rivals are over the top.

“I am not going to defend our eternal rivals but people exaggerate these things,” he told reporters on Friday. “This game won’t decide the league. It’s a big game and we want to beat them.”

He added: “We have positive feelings, not just because the game is one we identify as being very special but because of the position we are in.

“We will try to minimise their potential, we know how strong they are in every department. I just want to see my team play to their top level and see if we can beat them.

“We are playing the 12th game of the season. We lost at the Bernabeu last season, won at Camp Nou and won the league. It’s an important game for us but, I repeat, whatever happens will not be decisive.”

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Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos and James Rodriguez are all fit and available to start for Benitez having been doubts in the lead-up to the game but Luis Enrique says their availability will not alter his game plan.

“We don’t tend to plan around who is playing for the opposition, although you have to adapt to certain patterns,” he said. “Their line-up will mean we may fine tune things but we go into this game the same way we go into any game.”

Madrid suffered a defeat in their last league outing, losing 3-2 at Sevilla on November 8, but Luis Enrique does not believe that will have any impact on Saturday’s encounter.

“I don’t look too much into the results of the other teams,” he said. “Obviously I want our direct rivals to lose all the time. But in between there have been the international games and I don’t think the last result has much to do with it.

“Real Madrid are going to go into this game looking as strong as they always do but let’s hope we can stand up to it.

“I don’t think they are better than we are but I’m the manager of their rivals so I am bound to say that.

“But they are a top quality team and if we don’t play well they can beat us. What else do you expect against a team that has the same targets as we do?”


11 2015
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