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Luis Enrique: “Clasicos should be heated, fun and entertaining”

Luis Enrique at the end of the press conference / FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
Great expectation in the press room just 24 hours before the Clasico in the Santiago Bernabéu

Barça coach Luis Enrique revealed that Luis Suárez will appear at some point and Sergio Busquets is fit to take part

Great expectation in the press room at the Ciutat Esportiva. In the traditional pre-game press conference ahead of Madrid-Barça, Luis Enrique revealed his thoughts before his first Clásico as a coach. He is clear about what he wants from his players: “We will go out there with the same footballing ideas and the same attitude as always. That, according to the coach, is “going after the from the start, without sitting back, having the ball and deserving the victory”

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Following on from that the Barça coach made it clear that regardless of the Real Madrid starting 11, he would not adapt his preparations for the game. Nevertheless, he recognised their opponents strength, above all “some very special qualities: the transition and the firepower they have up front”. What will be the keys to stopping them? “We have the aim of controlling the game. We need the ball and to commit as few errors as possible and to be on our game up front”, he replied.

Entertainment and a sporting approach

This time before the game Luis Enrique did not want to give away any clues about the starting line up in the Bernabéu, however, he did reveal that “Luis Suárez will have a few minutes without doubt”. He also made it clear that Sergio Busquets, after missing the last two games, “will be available to play with any problem”. The coach from Gijón was delighted to “have a lot of options all over the pitch”. He added that he had not noticed any changes in any of the possible Clasico debutants but at the same time he admitted that in games of his nature “emotions can get the better of you”.

He knows that full well from his days as a player and just a day before his first Clasico as a coach, he expressed his hopes that his team receive a less hostile reception than last season when he visited the Santiago Bernabéu as Celta de Vigo coach. “This time it will be better shared out”, he said with a smile. He was full of respect for his Madrid counterpart Carlo Ancelotti and at the same time unwilling to get caught up in controversy. All in all, he expects a great Madrid-Barça; for the blaugrana coach, “the Clasicos should be charged, fun and entertaining, and ruled by sporting considerations”.

Luis Enrique: “Clasicos should be charged, fun… por fcbarcelona

We have to go for the game from the start, not sit back, have the ball and deserve the victory

Goalkeeper debuts in the Clasico

Ter Stegen, Bravo o Masip debutaran aquest dissabte en un Clàssic
On Saturday at the Santiago Bernabéu a Barça goalkeeper will once again make his debut in a Madrid match

Since Zubizarreta nine men have debuted in goal in the Clasico with varying success; the majority opened up at home

Goalkeepers with no Clasicos in La Liga

In recent years several Barça goalkeepers never got the opportunity to play against Real Madrid in La Liga. Unzué, Lopetegui, Angoy, Enke, Ruben, Miño, Jorquera, Oier and Pinto didn’t play in a league Clasico, although some of them did do so in other competitions.

Since Barça totally renovated the goalkeeping position this offseason, it is inevitable that one of them will play their first Clasico Saturday. Claudio Bravo, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Jordi Masip have never played in one and so the list of first-timers will be updated. Situations like this have produced varying degrees of success.

Since Andoni Zubizarreta played in his first Clasico in the 1986/87 season nine others have followed. The last to do so was Victor Valdés back in 2003/04, when Real Madrid walked out of the Camp Nou with a 2-1 win.

Varying success

Of the nine debutants since Zubizarreta, only two have won. Two others drew and five lost. Ruud Hesp and Richard Dutruel were successful in their first clasicos. Hesp did it in 1997/98 with a 3-2 win at Madrid and Dutruel the same with a 2-0 win at home in 2000/01.

Zubizarreta, with a 1-1 result at the Bernabéu, and José Manuel Reina, with a 2-2 tie at home in 2000/01, were the ones who drew.

The remaining five lost their Clasico debuts. Carles Busquets (5-0 in 1994/95), Arnau (3-0 in 1999/2000), Vitor Baía (2-0 in 1996/97), and Bonano (2-0 in 2001/02), all lost in Madrid, while Valdés (2-1 in 2003/04) lost at home.

This Saturday at the Bernabéu, Bravo, Ter Stegen and Masip will vie to make their Clasico debut a winning one.

Six strikers ready for The Classico

Suárez, Messi, Munir, Neymar, Sandro and Pedro in training on Thursday. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.
Luis Enrique has Messi, Neymar, Luis Suárez, Pedro, Sandro and Munir available upfront

Not counting Suarez, the other five have bagged more than 80% of the team’s goals this season.

With Luis Suárez  back from his ban, Luis Enrique can finally choose form a full pack of strikers for Saturday’s game against Madrid, with Leo Messi, Neymar Jr, Luis Suárez, Pedro Rodríguez, Sandro Ramírez and Munir El Haddadi all available.

24 out of 28 goals for the front men

There’s plenty of focus on what Suarez’s role is going to be on Saturday, but the presence of Messi and Neymar upfront will also be giving the Madrid defence headaches – the two of them have managed more than 19 out of 28 of the team’s goals this season. Sandro (3), Pedro (1) and Munir (1) have also scored, with the combined goals from the front men representing more than 80% of the total.

Possible debuts

Messi and Pedro have plenty of experience against Real Madrid, whilst Neymar made his debut last season with a goal at the Camp Nou. For Luis Suárez, Sandro and Munir Saturday would be their first appearance in the fixture.

 

Final training ahead of the Clasico

Luis Suárez trained with the rest of the players on Friday / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
All Barça’s avaialble players trained on Friday ahead of Saturday’s trip to the Bernabeue

Sergio trained normally, whilst Adriano, Douglas and Vermaelen worked apart

The squad put in a final training session on the Camp Tito Vilanova at the Ciutat Esportiva this morning, ahead of Saturday’s big game in Madrid with Luis Enrique having the chance to work with all of his available players plus Barça B youngsters Sandro and Munir. Sergio Busquets continues to recover from the injury that kept him out on Tuesday , whilst Adriano,Douglas and Vermaelen all worked apart.

The squad will fly to Madrid on Saturday morning for the six o’clock kick off at the Bernabeu. Luis Enrique will also announce the squad for the game on Saturday morning.

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