Luis Enrique promises to 'play as if there was no second leg'

Luis Enrique playing an active role in Tuesday's training session / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
“Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal will get the chance to wear the FC Barcelona shirt and play a part in the match” promises the first team manager ahead of the second of three meetings with Espanyol

“We shall play as there was no second leg” was the promise that Luis Enrique made to the press on Wednesday, the day before hosting Espanyol in the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey at the Camp Nou (8.30pm CET). After training twice with his players since the two sides met just a few days earlier in a 0-0 draw in the league, the Barça coach feels confident that “my players are perfectly motivated for this clash”.

Looking back at the first of three derbies in the space of just eleven days, the coach commented that “we played a great game at their ground. We created six or seven very clear goalscoring chances that could have won us the match. But that doesn’t mean that there weren’t a lot of things that we need to improve, and in fact we have been able to do just that.”

In reference to the fact that the game is being played on a national holiday, when people traditionally receive festive gifts in Catalonia, he added that “we are looking forward to giving our fans a very nice King’s day gift.”

Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal

For the first time since they joined FCB in the summer, Luis Enrique is allowed to name Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal in his side, and he confirmed to the media that “both of them will get the chance to wear the Barça shirt and play a part in the match. We have GPS data from their training sessions that shows that they are perfectly capable of playing the full 90 minutes.”

Asked to go into further depth about what the duo can add to his world-beating team, the Asturian answered that “Arda can play in the middle or out wide, and I dare say Aleix Vidal could play in any of three positions, either at full back, centre back or even out on the wing. He can play in any of these positions depending on what we need to get from certain matches. Both players have outstanding skill.”