Luis Enrique: Málaga always cause us problems

Luis Enrique in his pre-Màlaga press conferecne / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
‘It’s a vital game for us to stay in touch at the top and we have to take it very seriously,’ says the Barça coach

Barça’s visit to Málaga this Saturday will not be easy as the blaugranes have recent encounters with Andalusian side as proof. Luis Enrique is only too aware of the fact: “Málaga always cause us problems. It’s a vital game for us to stay in touch at the top and we have to take it very seriously,” admitted the boss in the pre-game press conference on Friday. The Barça coach only had praise for his counterpart, Javi Gracia: “He is one of the coaches who cause us most problems. I have known him for years and he is very meticulous and he pays attention to all the details and he knows all the things that will affect our game. We have to be aware that at home they have beaten teams like Atlético Madrid and Celta.”

Málaga have lost Amrabat, the striker having signed for English club Watford in the January transfer window. Luis Enrique admitted that he was an important player for Saturday’s rivals but does not think it will change things for their coach: “It’s obvious that he was one of their most important players, but they won’t change their tactics for the game.”

Barça come into the match on the back of the first leg of their cup quarter-final tie against Athletic. “I hope it doesn’t affect us. We have a very busy fixture list and that means the whole squad has to be ready,” explained the Asturian. Finally, the blaugrana boss added that he believed both Leo Messi and Jérémy Mathieu would be fit for the trip to Málaga: “I don’t think they will have problems when it comes to playing.”