matchdays | 2017-01-15
Lucho: ‘Aleix Vidal has proved me wrong’
The Barça coach praised the team’s performance in the rout against Las Palmas
FC Barcelona displayed arguably the best performance of the season so far and trashed UD Las Palmas 5-0 at the Camp Nou. After a shaky start in 2017 with one draw and one defeat, the Blaugranas seem to be picking up the much needed momentum for the second part of the season, as remarked by the coach Luis Enrique: “In 2017, I have seen good performances from the team even though in the first two games we did not get the result we deserved. The team came out strongly to show that we need everybody. Aleix Vidal showed again that he is ready to compete. The two inside midfielders, Rafinha and André Gomes, were very good.”
The Barça coach highlighted that “one of the objectives was to pay special attention to when we do not have the ball because we knew about the quality of Las Palmas, a team with great skills. With them defending as they were, in a 4-1-4-1, they allowed clear chances to arrive to our inside midfielders and we took advantage well. Although in attack, we were not so precise in the first half but in the second we were more accurate. It has been a very complete performance with a wonderful defensive display, a match which gives us confidence.”
Luis Enrique was very pleased with Aleix Vidal’s game in which the defender got himself in the score sheet: “Vidal is physically very strong with a very high rhythm. He is in great physical condition and trains really well and it’s great for me to have all of my players ready and convinced that they can contribute. Aleix has been the player which has played the less minutes this season alongside Jordi Masip and has showed he’s ready to compete, and has proved the coach wrong because he has made an excellent match.”
About the right back position which is shared by Sergi Roberto and Aleix Vidal, Luis Enrique said that “Barça usually performs with false fullbacks who create by means of the possession but need to know how to adapt to that role because neither Sergi Roberto nor Aleix Vidal have grown in that position. Both of them have solvency and finishing skills and are attack-minded. They have to continue improving in the defensive aspect but having both of them available it’s great news.”
Vidal’s teammates understand the pressure the right back feels for not having enough playing minutes, as Javier Mascherano expressed after the game: “I’m very happy for Aleix Vidal. He has fought hard to get minutes, he has done things well and today got his reward.” The Argentinian continued: “It’s always great to play a game like this one which boosts us, feeling superior to the opponent not only in the result but also in the performance. We must win all of our games and must work hard to do so. We’re in a situation in where we cannot leave anything to luck nor can we relax.”
The Barcelona players are aware of the required concentration for not slipping any further in their league chances: “What we have to do is enter the game and go for the win from the first minute, minimize errors and, from there, get stronger”, said the Jefecito. Luis Suárez, who netted a brace versus Las Palmas, agreed on that point: “We must praise the work that we put in from the beginning of the match to win us these three points. We must keep working to achieve our goals. It was important to get the points and more so playing at home against a team that makes things difficult”, said the Uruguayan.
The mandatory rotations
Luis Enrique was questioned about his rotations policy after leaving Neymar on the bench the entire match and replacing Suárez for Alcácer in the second half: “I like my players to be on the edge about whether they will be on the starting lineup or not, if they’re going to have playing minutes or making it to the matchday squad. We’re a football team, we’re not a NGO. All the players are important for the team but it’s obvious that everybody wants to play more, no one is pleased with the minutes they’re having. Although I have to think about what’s best for the team and the club”, remarked the Asturian coach.