Barcelona: Luis Enrique insists his Barcelona team will need no extra motivation in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday.
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique
With the La Liga title already won and a Champions League final to come on June 6, you could be forgiven for thinking that the showpiece against Athletic Bilbao would not be top of Barca’s priorities.
But with Barca chasing a 27th cup victory and Athletic a 24th, Luis Enrique expects the two most successful teams in the history of the competition to put on a show.
“It’s one of the best games you could possibly play in, for the atmosphere and because there is a trophy at stake,” he told the Spanish press at a pre-match press conference.
“I am not going to use any motivational video because the players are already completely motivated. There is plenty of impetus for them to win. After lots of matches in the competition and a faultless run, now the best is to come. We are highly motivated and we don’t value any trophy over another.
“I won’t play 11 footballers, I will play with the 23 players from the squad who have brought us here.”
He added: “Athletic are one of the most difficult sides to play against, they try and take the ball off you and they put you under pressure at all times.”
The manager confirmed that he had a fully fit squad to choose from, including forward Luis Suarez who has recently been suffering with a hamstring injury. Despite the game being played at the Nou Camp, Barca will be classed as the away team for the final, although Luis Enrique does not think that will make a major difference.
“It will be strange to go to the away dressing room but the players are professionals and they are used to playing in different stadiums,” he said.
“In the past we have seen teams beaten in the final of competitions at their own ground. It is our ground but the atmosphere will be different. It’s the perfect venue to play football.”
Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao: Ten Sports, 01:00 (Sunday)