Luis Enrique refused to comment on reports of racist chanting being aimed at Barcelona star Neymar by a section of the Espanyol crowd during Saturday’s Catalan derby.
Barca were blunted by the intensity and aggression of their neighbours throughout the 0-0 stalemate at a boisterous Cornella El Prat, with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez denied by the woodwork either side of half-time.
But it was events off the pitch that dominated the post-match agenda, with reports suggesting that Neymar was subjected to racist chanting in the first half.
Former Barca board member Toni Freixa tweeted after the game: “I trust that the racist chants which Neymar was subjected to have been carefully noted in the referee’s report.”
However, when asked about the issue in his media conference after the match, Barca coach Luis Enrique responded: “The only thing that interests me is what is happening out on the pitch. If I start giving opinions one way or another, I’ll get hit from all sides – mind you, I get hit from all sides even when I don’t say anything.”
Barca unsurprisingly created the better chances in a typically fiery derby, with Suarez also having a goal disallowed shortly before he struck the post from close range.
Luis Enrique’s side will be knocked off the top of La Liga should Atletico Madrid beat Levante later on Saturday, but the former Celta Vigo boss was satisfied with his team’s performance and promised “the same level of intensity” when Espanyol visit Camp Nou in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
“We created chances but our opponents defended well,” he continued. “They were very intense but that was something we knew before the game.”
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