Lucho: Useless if Barca don’t win

Luis Enrique has warned Barcelona that “the rest is useless” if his side fail to beat Malaga in La Liga on Saturday.

Barca will be without first-choice duo Gerard Pique and Ivan Rakitic for the trip to La Rosaleda, but Enrique made it clear that the while Malaga posed “a good test” for the Catalans, only three points would do.

“Malaga? They’re a team that have changed Coaches, with what that means, but their last result in Gijon means they picked up three very important points,” the Coach said at a Press conference.

“We’ve always had problems against Malaga, so for us it’ll be a very good test.

“Race for the title? La Liga is passing through Malaga for us and nothing else. If we don’t pick up the three points in Malaga, the rest is useless. There will be time to assess how we arrive for the Clasico.

“Right-sider in the 3-4-3? The one who played there the most was Rafa [Rafinha], but I have a lot of options. It’s a position where a lot of players can come in.

“Malaga and Juve? They are games in different competitions, but we have to be focused on the League game first.

“The abundance of changes is thanks to the quality of our players, and in that respect, we’re very lucky. They know how to play in different systems and that’s usually very difficult.

“Winning a treble? Yes, but there are others who can do it. If you look at statistics, you’ll see that it’s very difficult for us to win all our remaining games.

“The best thing is to focus on the Malaga match and face it with 100 percent motivation.

“The important thing for us is that our rivals are dropping points, either before or after our matches, but everything’s possible for as long as we pick up three points.

“Our physical level? I’m convinced that I must manage the team by rotating them. There’s still a long way to go to win a trophy, but if we are in a position to do so then it’s thanks to rotations.

“The Madrid derby? If I don’t take a nap, I’ll watch it.

“The absences of Pique and Rakitic? They’re important because of the number of minutes they’ve played, but I have to focus on the ones at my disposal. The rest will do Gerard and Ivan the world of good.

“Juventus? I’d recommend Allegri to bench, in the game against us, Higuain, Mandzukic, Cuadrado and Dybala… they’ll be rested for the run-in that way.

“We must focus on the League. We know that we’re back in the Champions League, which attracts us a lot, but we also know the risks of not focusing on the League.

“We have to end the season with tranquillity and appreciate everything in perspective.

“We haven’t won anything yet, but we haven’t lost anything either. We’re in a good spell, now we need to confirm it.”

Malaga (probable): Kameni; Rosales, Luis Hernandez, Diego Llorente, Ricca; Chory, Recio, Camacho, Fornals, Juan Carlos; Sandro

Injuries/suspensions: Keko (S), Kone (I), Kuzmanovic (I), Miguel Torres (doubtful)

Barcelona (probable): Ter Stegen; Sergi, Umtiti, Mathieu, Alba; Gomes, Busquets, Denis; Messi, Suarez, Neymar

Injuries/suspensions: Vidal (I), Arda (I), Pique (S), Rafinha (I), Rakitic (S)

Referee: Gil Manzano

Form guide: Malaga (W W W L W) Barca (W L D L L)

Previous meeting: Barca 0-0 Malaga

Kick-off time: 19:45 BST/20:45 CET (LIVE on Football Espana!) 

Tags Luis Enrique