• Messi fit to face Sporting –Luis Enrique


    BARCELONA: Barcelona coach Luis Enrique insisted Lionel Messi will be 100 percent fit to face Sporting Gijon on Saturday despite suffering a series of knocks in Barca’s 8-0 hammering of Deportivo la Coruna.

    “He didn’t have much luck with the blows in the game the other day, but he trained today and is in perfect condition,” said Enrique on Friday (Saturday in Manila).

    Luis Suarez led Barca’s stunning return to form with four goals and three assists on Wednesday following a run of three straight La Liga defeats for the first time in 13 years.

    “It is a perfect result which reinforces us and came at a marvellous time,” added Enrique.

    Only Barca’s superior head-to-head record separates them from Atletico Madrid at the top with four games remaining, whilst Real Madrid are only a point further back in third.

    The Catalans have a favorable run-in on paper, but face three sides in Sporting, Espanyol and Granada who are fighting to avoid relegation at the other end of the table.

    “We have to continue what we saw against Deportivo in the four games that remain. It will interesting at the top and the bottom.”

    However, Enrique again rejected suggestions that his refusal to rotate the star front three of Messi, Suarez and Neymar in particular had been the cause of Barca’s slump in the past month.

    “My decisions depend on what the team needs.

    “I normally make changes if I see the possibility to improve the team or due to tiredness. Last year I rotated a lot and people didn’t like it then either.”



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