Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has stated that he hopes to play Lionel Messi for every minute of every game provided he manages to remain fit.
On Saturday, Spanish giants Barcelona were stunned by La Liga newcomers Alaves who visited the Nou Camp as clear underdogs but managed to defy all odds to pull off a memorable 2-1 victory over the hosts.
However, the Catalan giants have absolutely no time to dwell on the result as they are set to face off against Celtic in their Champions League opener. After having met the Scottish side in pre-season, manager Luis Enrique is expecting a similar performance from the Bhoys.
“Tomorrow’s game should be similar to the preseason. That’s because of the coach’s ideas. The way they play the ball, the way they put on the pressure to get it back.
“They’re a tough rival, they went through [the preliminary rounds and the playoff round] into the Champions League group stage, and they’re in our group,” Enrique told the press building up to the game against Celtic (via Barcelona’s official website).
Lionel Messi was on the bench for the weekend’s La Liga game and came on in the second half, but failed to affect proceedings. It looked like the Argentine was still recuperating from his hamstring and groin injury as he did not seem up to the task against Alaves.
When quizzed about Messi’s involvement in the game, Enrique responded: “I’d like him to play every single minute, and he would as well. But it will be him and his health that decide that.”
Enrique will be hoping that his side bounces back against their Champions League group game against Celtic. With most of his players available for the game, the Barcelona manager will be optimistic to kick-start the Catalan’s European campaign on a winning note.