Barcelona coach Enrique says they can turn things around in 2017 La Liga

Barcelona, Dec 25 (IANS) FC Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique has said that they are capable of turning things around in 2017 after the first half of the La Liga football season saw them three points behind table toppers Real Madrid having played one game more.

Enrique’s side has drawn three of their last five La Liga games as the defending champions have failed to keep up with their traditional rivals, who have collected 37 points from 16 matches.

“I think we are capable of turning things around. We have a nice Liga challenge ahead of us. We’re six points behind Real Madrid, so let’s see if we can sort the situation out,” Enrique told his club’s official media outlets on Saturday.

“This is a team that thrives on big challenges. Although we have won lots of trophies in recent times, they’re never easy,” the 46-year-old added.

“But we have to win titles because we are the ones who play the best football, know what we want and over the season, that should give us our reward.”

Enrique also said that he has “a unique set of players” and that “fans should know that there is more hunger than ever”.

“I have a lot of solutions, which means I can rotate. That will really start to show at the end of the season,” he warned his opponents.

The former Real Madrid and Barcelona player maintained that he is at “the best team, the best club with the best players”.

He again picked out Argentine star forward Lionel Messi for special praise. “He can do what he wants on the field. There will never be another player like him,” he said of the 29-year-old five-time Ballon d’Or winner.

He also backed new forward Paco Alcácer to deliver. “He was getting chances to score but people started putting pressure on him and that made him uneasy. As a coach, my job is to calm him down. He can score goals. And although I don’t know when, I know he will,” he said of the 23-year-old.

On his future, he admitted “this job has a tough side” and that he would have to “look at the next few seasons”.

–IANS

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