Enrique defends fringe players

Luis Enrique insists “I’m more than satisfied” with Barcelona’s fringe players, despite their inability to break down Villanovense on Wednesday.

The Coach’s decision to field many of his B youngsters and peripheral squad members for the trip to the Segunda B minnows backfired as the treble-winners were held to a goalless draw, but he was happy enough with the performances on show.

“We controlled the game and only suffered, as we already knew, from set pieces. However, we didn’t create enough chances,” he said after the game.

“[On his fringe players failing to impress], they lacked rhythm and it wasn’t easy for them.

“I didn’t see any lethargy but rather everyone wanting to have a good game and I’m more than satisfied.

“It’s clear that with more minutes, players can give better performances. The four lads from the reserves [B team] were very good.

“[On Jordi Alba, Dani Alves and Ivan Rakitic remaining on the bench], I have to manage the minutes I give out.

“I felt it wasn’t necessary to bring on Rakitic, Alba and the others.

“Even though they’re not in as good a situation as they’d like to be in their group, [Villanovense] had a very complete game.

“Their motivation and enthusiasm was clearly high and they played very well within their means.

“[On Javier Mascherano’s two-match ban], I hoped that the ban would be as lenient as possible. It’ll help us avoid such situations in the future.

“[On the Romero Cuerda stadium], I’d like to highlight the way we were received by the stadium and fans and the atmosphere on show.”

Tags Luis Enrique Villanovense