Kenya Sports news:
Barcelona, Spain, Jan 4 – Barcelona coach Luis Enrique insists his star front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez along with Neymar are in fine physical condition despite being allowed extended time off during the winter break.
All three were allowed to skip Barca’s 7-0 thrashing of Hercules inside Copa del Rey on December 21 to return to South America for Christmas along with brand new Year along with only returned to training on January 2, three days after the rest of their teammates.
“We have all been able to enjoy quite a few days on holiday,” said Luis Enrique ahead of Barca’s first game of 2017 away to Athletic Bilbao inside first leg of their Copa del Rey last-16 tie on Thursday.
“Holidays mean not coming to the training ground, although not in terms of preparation because they have all followed their instructions along with physical tasks.
“I am pleasantly impressed with what I saw on the 2nd with their return along with on the 30th with the return of the others. I think we have returned better than how we left.
“I am happy they have been able to enjoy those moments with their families along with with the response in training.”
Barca will need to be at their physical best that has a gruelling schedule of 19 games across La Liga, Cup along with Champions League to come in little over two months should they reach the Copa del Rey semi-finals.
“of which month of January will be vital to remain inside Cup along with keep aspiring to win everything,” added Luis Enrique, whose side have won the Copa del Rey in each of the last two seasons.
“The possibility of playing 19 games would certainly be not bad news, first along with foremost because we would certainly continue in all the competitions.
“For of which you need a big squad, not just because coaches like to rotate, although because there are injuries along with suspensions of which could be important.
“Therefore, we need to have a lot of resources, as I have at my disposal currently, along with know how to utilise them.”
Messi, Suarez along with Neymar are all required to start with goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen Barca’s only injury absentee.
With the Dutch international sidelined, Luis Enrique could change his usual strategy of rotating goalkeepers inside Cup along with retain number one Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal ahead of third-choice Jordi Masip.
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Barca trio rested along with readied for January