FC Barcelona manager Luis Enrique believes that the league will not be decided by the outcome of the first Clasico of the season at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Despite suffering a couple of defeats this season at the hands of Celta Vigo and Sevilla, Luis Enrique’s FC Barcelona sit at the top of La Liga — 3 points ahead of their opponents on Saturday. Despite missing the services of the imperious Lionel Messi for a greater part of the season, FC Barcelona have maintained their winning run in the league — largely on the back of spectacular attacking displays by the South American duo of Neymar and Luis Suarez.

Given the excellent partnership of Neymar and Suarez upfront, it will be interesting to see if Luis Enrique opts to put the fit again Lionel Messi in the starting lineup against the Los Blancos. In either case, Enrique would be confident of taking something away from the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, given his side’s excellent recent form.

El Clasico wont determine the destination of the League: Enrique

Speaking to the media ahead of his side’s much anticipated clash against Real Madrid, Luis Enrique insisted that the outcome of the Clasico will not determine the destination of the La Liga trophy come the end of the season.

“This game [El Clasico] won’t decide the league,” said Enrique (via goal.com). “It’s a big game and we want to beat them”.

“I am not going to defend our eternal rivals but people exaggerate these things. We have positive feelings, not just because the game is one we identify as being very special but because of the position we are in.”

“We will try to minimise their potential, we know how strong they are in every department. I just want to see my team play to their top level and see if we can beat them.”

“We are playing the 12th game of the season. We lost at the Bernabeu last season, won at Camp Nou and won the league. It’s an important game for us but, I repeat, whatever happens will not be decisive.”

While referring to Real Madrid’s 3-2 defeat to Sevilla a fortnight ago, Enrique said, “I don’t look too much into the results of the other teams. Obviously I want our direct rivals to lose all the time. But in between there have been the international games and I don’t think the last result has much to do with it.”

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This is Enrique’s Best Chance yet to beat Real Madrid at the Bernabeu

After two unconvincing performances against Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League and a defeat to Sevilla in La Liga, the pressure is well and truly on Rafa Benitez as he heads into his first Clasico as the manager of Real Madrid.

Although Rafa Benitez has a full squad to choose from for the Clasico, several of their players such as Bale, Benzema, Marcelo and James Rodriguez are returning from long term injuries and are unlikely to be fully match fit. By his own lofty standards, Cristiano Ronaldo is currently undergoing a goal drought and often cuts a frustrated figure on the field of play.

Add Benzema’s sex tape scandal and rumours of squad mutiny into the mix, and one realizes that this maybe Luis Enrique’s best chance yet of coming away with a victory from the Santiago Bernabeu.