Barcelona boss Luis Enrique expects Neymar to keep his cool

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique expects Neymar to keep his cool

Luis Enrique has backed Neymar to keep his cool
during Barcelona's derby trip to face Espanyol on
Sunday.
The Brazil forward is back from a three-match
suspension, having been sent off for two bookable
offences in the defeat at Malaga earlier this month.
The severity of his punishment was in part due to
Neymar sarcastically applauding the fourth official
as he left the field.
Three consecutive wins in his absence, including a
thrilling Lionel Messi-inspired triumph in El Clasico
last weekend, have returned Barca to the top of
LaLiga at Real Madrid's expense.
Luis Enrique is buoyed to have Neymar back for
the final stretch of the title race and believes he
will take a hostile atmosphere at Estadi Cornella-El
Prat in his stride.
"Neymar's ready to compete," Luis Enrique said at
a pre-match news conference.
"I think Neymar is a specialist at dealing with
these situations. If there is a player who receives
the most fouls in the danger zone, that's Neymar.
"He's not been sent off very often and I think he
controls his emotions very well, but there is no
doubt tomorrow's game is one where we will have
to control our emotions very well."
Luis Enrique studiously worked to avoid any pre-
derby controversy, with the title race reaching fever
pitch.
Madrid still have a game in hand on Barca,
meaning the reigning champions need their bitter
rivals to lose one of their remaining fixtures to cede
control of the battle for LaLiga.
Zinedine Zidane's side travel to face a Malaga
team coached by former Madrid favourite Michel on
the final day of the season.
Speaking about the possibility of handing
Barcelona the title, as a Tenerife side led by
another ex-Madrid man Jorge Valdano did by
thwarting Los Blancos late in 1991-92 and
1992-93, Michel this week proclaimed himself to
be "much more of a Madridista" than even
Valdano.
Asked after Wednesday's 7-1 win over Osasuna
whether Barca could expect any favours from
Malaga, Luis Enrique cryptically said "If my
grandmother had wheels, she would be a bicycle".
Despite Barcelona reporting Malaga president
Abdullah Al Thani to Spain's anti-violence
commission after an insulting tweet amid the
fallout to Michel's comments, the Catalan side's
head coach was not so colourfully quotable on
Friday.
"I have no interest in talking about these things,"
he said. "They have nothing to do with the next
game we're playing against Espanyol and that has
been my policy for the last three years."
Having also sidestepped questions over his
reportedly fractious relationship with Espanyol boss
Quique Sanchez Flores and on-loan Barca man
Munir's wish to help Valencia to victory against
Madrid on Saturday, Luis Enrique dismissed an
accusation that Messi's celebration of his stunning
winning goal last weekend – where he held his
shirt aloft for a prolonged period in front of the
Santiago Bernabeu faithful – was overly
provocative.

"I'm not going to get involved in these controversy-
seeking questions," he added. "I never have done
and even less so now I'm a manager. It's really not
my thing."
Barcelona will assess captain Andres Iniesta ahead
of the Espanyol match after he missed training on
Friday with an adductor problem.


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