Lucho ‘had what Barca needed’

Luis Enrique claims he has “showed” the characteristics needed to manage Barcelona ahead of Saturday’s clash with Villarreal in La Liga.

Enrique will step down as Barca Coach at the end of the season after three years in the hot-seat, and he believes his successor must share similar traits to him.

“Villarreal? They’re perfectly organised with the ball, capable of posing danger on a collective level and they’re a team that defend very well,” he said at a Press conference.

“They’re one of the most difficult teams to face in La Liga.

“Iniesta? He’s been training with the group for two days without any problems. I see him in a good way.

“A future without Iniesta?  I don’t have to answer that. Andres Iniesta’s career at the club is something we’ve all enjoyed.

“Madrid’s run in the Champions League? It’s something that enhances Real Madrid’s value as a club, but it’s a bit one-sided.

“You should look at the last four years and see how many Leagues they’ve won. The data isn’t so positive.

“Villarreal our most difficult game left? Yes, because it’s our next one.

“The campaign for Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Ballon d’Or? I don’t care about it whatsoever.

“I expect a similar game to our first game against Villarreal. We deserved to win at their place, but our opponents took advantage of a counterattack to score against us. We’ve worked on this issue.

“Madrid? The only condition we have is to pick up nine points. I prefer to focus on what I can control.

“How I’m living my final days with Barca? With the same excitement as the previous end-of-seasons

“Relying on another team? It’s the same story every end-of-season. You have to put up with the pressure and ensure it affects you as little as possible.

“Uncertainty of the players about who will replace them? That’s a question for the players. “Characteristics that the new Coach should have? I defined them on the first day I arrived and I’ve showed them in these [three] years.

“The global impact of Barca? As professionals, we’re used to it. The most comfortable thing for us is to focus on doing our jobs.”

Barcelona (probable): Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Suarez, Neymar

Injuries/suspensions: Vidal, Mathieu, Rafinha (I)

Villarreal (probable): Andres Fernandez; Mario, Musacchio, Bonera, Costa; Rodri, Trigueros; Jonathan, Soriano, Castillejo; Bakambu

Injuries/suspensions: Bruno, Cheryshev, Asenjo, Ruiz (I)

Referee: Sanchez Martinez

Form guide: Barcelona (W W W W L) Villarreal (W W W L W)

Previous meeting: Villarreal 1-1 Barcelona

Kick-off time: 17:30 BST/18:30 local time (LIVE on Football Espana!)

Tags Luis Enrique