Barcelona coach Luis Enrique appeared before the media to preview Sunday's La Liga clash against Valencia at Camp Nou, but Valencia was not the most important theme of the press conference.
With the Champions League elimination at the hands of Atlético Madrid last Wednesday still fresh in everyone's minds, Enrique was asked a lot about what happened at Vicente Calderón, the mental state of the squad after such a disappointing loss, and if the team is still strong enough to win this season's remaining domestic competitions.
Lucho was in a positive mood, optimistic of what his men will be able to do from now on, and asked for a massive support from Blaugrana fans in this difficult point of the campaign.
"We have to lift ourselves up and focus on what we have ahead of us. And that means two very attractive competitions that we are still involved in."
"We have to forget the past. It won’t be easy, and we are going to need the fans’ support more than ever. It’s at difficult times like these that we need them most."
"In every season, some opponents will change manager. It’s the kind of thing you just have to deal with. There have only been two games with Ayestarán in charge that we can analyse, but it seems that the basic team is the same it has been all year. For us, this game is basically about the chance to turn a situation around and make sure we stay top of the league".
"I’m hoping to wins trophies this season, and bring some joy to the supporters. Barça fans are an intelligent lot, and they’d never forgive us for a lack of attitude or ambition. But we’ll never be guilty of that. I’m sure the fans will get behind us. This is a time when we need to give more than ever, and this team never stops trying to get better, in every training session and in every game."
"We need the fans’ support. I’m an optimist, and I still think we’re going to win the league. We know it’ll be hard, but nobody ever said that this was going to be an easy stroll."
Turning the page
"The players are fine, they’re fully recovered. Of course the disappointment has been hard to swallow, but they’re professionals. There’s still a lot to look forward to. Not many teams can say that they have won the league and cup double two years in a row".
"As far as I’m concerned, the last few games are in the past. We analyse every game, the defeats as well as the wins. There are a lot of factors involved in explaining why a team wins or loses. It would be foolish to draw conclusions at this stage when there are six league games and a cup final still to go".
"There’s a world ahead of us – six league games. We need to perform well, avoid making mistakes, be effective and play good football. This is not our best spell of the season, and we just have to accept that".
"We always set high targets for ourselves, probably higher targets than any other team in the world. Over the course of the whole season, no team has been better than we have. I wouldn’t swap this team for any other in La Liga. What we have to do now is turn around a situation that we are not enjoying, a situation we need to deal with like the professionals we are."
"We know this club very well and I know what it means to be a Barça manager. I won’t let the bad moments sink me. My way of looking at sport doesn’t allow that. I think you get better in the face of adversity. And don’t forget that we can still win two very important trophies this season."
Luis Enrique, source: FCBarcelona.com