Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has joked that Neymar has “wonderful taste” following his admission he would like to work under Pep Guardiola.
Neymar made no secret of his desire to be coached by Guardiola, who led Barca to unpredecented success between 2008 and 2012 and will move to the Premier League this summer, amidst speculation he could seek pastures new himself, but Enrique is unperturbed by the Brazilian’s remarks.
“This game isn’t a final,” the Coach said at a Press conference ahead of La Blaugrana’s encounter with Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
“The top of the table is very tight, and I think will remain that way.
“They’re a direct rival of ours and [a win] would be important for the points and our goal difference.
“I want to see a good game from us and control of it throughout.
“We’ll have to give a very complete performance from the first to last minute.
“[Neymar and Jordi Alba] are doing very well. I’ll give them your best regards.
“Neymar has a little knock, but he’d catch and kill me [if I didn’t play him]. He’ll definitely play.
“[Diego Simeone] is a successful Coach. He has a lot of character.
“What we can achieve [in the transfer market] not only depends on what I or the club want.
“We both want the same things, but there are many other things which influence [our wishes].
“Prices, negotiations … There are no points of friction with the club, but I’d go directly to the club [to ask about transfers].
“I’m not fussed if we make transfers or not, I’m only worried about Saturday’s game.
“Anything can happen until the last day of the window.
“In a game of this magnitude, I don’t think it matters that one team have reached the semi-finals [of the Copa del Rey] and the other haven’t.
“[On doing the double over Simeone], our numbers and results are there, but it’s all in the past.
“We’ve been superior to them because we have playing at a very high level and putting in great performances.
“Arda’s a player who prefers to have the ball rather than not.
“He has the disadvantage of not competing at the start of the season, but the advantage of having trained since the summer.
“We press close to the goal and that also involves running many metres.
“[On Jeremy Mathieu], it’s very common to blame individuals in Spain.
“I’m delighted with the performance of my players. The conclusions we draw are collective.
“[On the Copa semi-final draw], it would’ve been difficult against any of the three teams.
“Still, it’s interesting. We lost to two of them [Celta Vigo and Sevilla] and drawn against the other [Valencia].
"To win, we need to create chances, be reliable, give a good account of ourselves and avoid conceding counterattacks and set-pieces.
“They’re the team who have conceded the least number of goals, and that's proof that they defend very well.
“They base their potential on that solidity and win games through it.
“[On Neymar wanting to work with Pep], I think Neymar has wonderful taste.
“There will be a wonderful atmosphere. At four [kick-off time], it’ll be full of children and parents.”