I’m not worried about peaking early, says Barca coach
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique says he is not worried his team will suffer the same fate as Real Madrid last season
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique says he is not worried his team will suffer the same fate as Real Madrid last season and peak too early before missing out on major silverware.
Real set a Spanish record for consecutive victories (22) in all competitions at the end of 2014 but stuttered after the turn of the year and coach Carlo Ancelotti was sacked after they failed to win the Champions League, La Liga or King’s Cup.
Barca, who won all three competitions last term, have been in scintillating form in recent weeks and hammered Real 4-0 at the Bernabeu last weekend before demolishing AS Roma 6-1 in Champions League Group E on Tuesday.
They entertain Real Sociedad in La Liga on Saturday when a win will put them seven points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid who host Espanyol later in the day.
Real, two points behind Atletico in third, visit sixth-placed Eibar on Sunday.
“I have never been worried about that,” Luis Enrique told a news conference on Friday when asked if he thought Barca were peaking too early.
“The idea is to play well for the whole season because obviously the titles are won at the end,” added the former Barca and Spain midfielder.
“It’s great to play like that against our eternal rival last weekend but we have to be able to do it as well at the key moments.
“We are playing well but there is a long way to go, two thirds of the season.”
Barca will have midfielder Arda Turan and versatile full back Aleix Vidal available in January when a FIFA ban on registering new players expires.
Luis Enrique said the club were nonetheless still open to reinforcing the squad in the January transfer window.
Spanish media have reported Barca may try to lure Spain forward Nolito, a former B player at the club, back from Celta Vigo.
“When the market opens we’ll assess what state the team is in,” said Luis Enrique.
“I am always in favour of reinforcing the squad, you can always improve and you must keep in mind that things can go wrong at any time.”
Barca will be without midfielder Sergi Roberto for the Sociedad game after he picked up a knock against Roma while centre back Javier Mascherano is available after missing out against the Italian side with a bruised thigh.