Madrid, Aug 23 IANS | 2 months ago

FC Barcelona coach Luis Enrique showed Saturday that he can play mind games like Atletico Madrid boss, Diego Simeone when he gave his press conference ahead of Barca's first Primera Liga match of the season.


Barca take on Elche in the Camp Nou Stadium anxious to put memories of last season's disappointing campaign behind them.

Last season ended with Barca losing out on the Primera Liga title following a dramatic 1-1 draw with Athletico Madrid in the Camp Nou Stadium on the last day of the season.

After watching his side defeat Real Madrid to lift the Spanish Supercup Friday night, Someone repeated his mantra that Atletico can't compete with Barca and Real over the course of a season

"Atletico are the maximum favourites to win the league. They are the reigning Champions," said Enrique, who praised Simeone's side.

"They have got the same ideas as last season and they have perfected their style despite changing some players. I said a year ago (when he coached Celta Vigo) that I saw them as favorites to win the league and Champions League and people said I was joking, but Atletico are clear favorites," he insisted, without forgetting Barca's other rivals: Real Madrid.

"Real Madrid are our eternal rivals and they have reinforced their squad, it's going to be an exciting season, we have high hopes and we are determined after not winning anything last season," added the Barca coach.

There are several questions to be answered over team selection after a summer which has seen Barca make six new signings to date, but Luis Enrique said that he was clear in his mind what his first starting 11 would be.

He also confirmed that Pedro Rodriguez was in condition to play, while Brazilian striker, Neymar had recovered from a slightly twisted ankle he had picked up in training.

"In principal I am counting on both of them," he confirmed, before highlighting the need to kick off the season with three points.

"If you win then it means you can control things that happen day by day. All I am thinking about now is the Elche game and I will do everything possible to win it," said Enrique.

(Posted on 23-08-2014)

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