Luis Enrique has warned Barcelona to avoid being sucked into the “flattery” trap when they travel to Roma in the Champions League on Tuesday.
La Blaugrana demolished Real Madrid 4-0 in the Clasico over the weekend to widespread acclaim, but the Coach insists it is “vital” his side move on from their conquer of the Santiago Bernabeu and focus on topping Group E.
“It’s vital that we top our group, therefore [Tuesday’s] game is very important. I hope it’s more open than the first match,” he said at a Press conference.
“We’ve had better performances than the one we gave on Saturday. What happened was that, as it was against Madrid, it was regarded more important.
“The idea, when approaching any market, is to improve the squad.
“The fact that we have players who can occupy different positions doesn’t mean we can’t think about new players.
“I think the flattery can weaken you. We’re immersed in a phase of flattery, but I’m sure that the season will prove to be very difficult.
“The team are smart enough to know how difficult everything is.
“[On benching Lionel Messi for the Clasico], I’ve always had positive relationships with most of my players.
“Never mind the details of my conversation with Messi. I don’t usually make public the things I say privately which I consider important.
“It’s true that the pace was not correct [during the 1-1 draw with Roma], but it’s always very difficult to cause problems for a team with two defensive lines, although we had chances and they only had one besides [Alessandro] Florenzi’s goal.
“I thought [Messi] was very good [against Madrid]. It’s a great joy for all Catalans see the world’s best players on the pitch. Now he just needs to charge his batteries [for Roma].
“We identified the problems [we had in defence] and worked on them … We’re transmitting that same sense of security as we did in preseason.
“Messi’s recovery is very good news, plus [the impending arrivals of] Arda [Turan] and Aleix [Vidal] …
“They’ll generate a lot of competition in the squad, but football is unpredictable and two and two rarely makes four.
“Neymar’s one of the best [players in the world] for his talent and ambition.
“He’s totally identified with the club’s colours and transmitting joy to everyone.
“[Javier] Mascherano took a nasty blow to the quadriceps [against Madrid], so it’s logical that he doesn’t play [on Tuesday]. He didn’t train [on Monday] and I don’t want to risk him.
“[On Marc Bartra deleting his Clasico tweet after discovering his omission from the squad], I’ve spoken to him.
“[On similarities with Frank Rijkaard], he was the Coach I had in my final season as a player. He’s a great person and a great Coach.
“He adopted Barca’s philosophy with slight changes, but I have great memories of him. He very typically used 4-3-3, with pressure in the attacking half.”