Sunday, 13 December 2015

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has challenged his side
to deal with Neymar's absence after the forward
sustained a groin injury in midweek.
Neymar pulled up in training on Tuesday prior to
Barca's 1-1 draw with Bayer Leverkusen a day later
and will miss this weekend's visit of Deportivo La
Coruna to Camp Nou.
Strike partner Lionel Messi has shaken off a
hamstring problem but Neymar is a doubt for the
Club World Cup – with Barca travelling to Japan
ahead of Thursday's semi-final with Club America
or Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao.
"There are always important players who are injured
but it's bad news whoever's injured," Luis Enrique
said on Friday.
"What do we lose? A lot of things, individually it's
hard to compare players like Neymar with others but
we have to find other solutions and make his absence
noted as little as possible.
"It's a question of looking through a global prism and
adapting to his absence.
"[His season has been] very positive, but even last
season and his first year he's always been playing
top-quality football.
"In his second season he set some fantastic stats and
he's continued to contribute a lot. He's adapting very
well to what this team needs. He's a magical player
who's going to go down in football history.
"As well as everything he does for the team, he
also scores goals so I'm very happy with what he's
Barca have struggled with injuries this term but sit
two points clear at the top of La Liga and could
welcome back Sergi Roberto (ankle) and Jeremy
Mathieu (thigh) this weekend.
Asked whether Sergi Roberto's injury had derailed his
breakthrough season at Barca, Luis Enrique
added: "No I don't think it's going to change his spirit.
It's a part of football, you have to put up with knocks.
"Sergi Roberto is a quality player. In midfield we've
had trouble this season. It's always been a dificult
area so it's good news he's recovering. Mathieu as
"Sergi Roberto is a very versatile player and he's a
player who can support the attack, he drops into
defence and he reads the game well – he knows how
to create pressure.
"He's an essential player to have and that's just the
start of his virtues."


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