Luis Enrique’s first press conference since the rumours of Messi’s discontent offered few clues to his true relationship with Barça’s star player. As expected the Barça coach deflected any questions on the subject saying he would not make any comment about what goes on in the dressing room or on the training pitch. He claimed that his relationship with Messi had not deteriorated while reaffirming that the Argentinian missed training on Monday due to gastroenteritis. He also stated that he will neither confirm nor deny any press rumours as it was not his job to do so, “my job is to coach the team and I will continue to do this as best I can”.
The answers to most questions were correct if slightly defensive, he feels backed by the club and the players, he hasn’t received an ultimatum from the board and nobody is going to change him. He claims he is still optimistic, stating “I feel strong, motivated and confident we’ll have a good second half to the season”.
His vagueness on the current situation – “there are things that can improve and we are working on them” – continues to irritate, while his own irritation with the press was revealed in the vexed “Gracias!” when somebody finally asked him about tomorrow’s Copa del Rey opponents Elche. He did finally reveal that not everything is perfect in part of his answer when he admitted “our situation is not the most pleasant”.
At 4 pm Josep Maria Bartomeu will also appear before the press to explain the sacking of Andoni Zubizaretta and to announce his replacement.