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Luis Enrique standing firm ahead of Neymar talks

Luis Enrique says Barcelona and Brazil are determined to do what is best for Neymar as he prepares for talks with Dunga over the forward’s international commitments.

The 24-year-old is set to be the subject of discussions this week over whether he will be used in both the Brazil squad for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and the preceding Copa America.

Brazil boss Dunga said this week that he would sooner see Neymar in the Olympics squad if forced to make a decision between the two, but Luis Enrique would not be drawn on what his own demands will be for the player.

“We haven’t met yet, we’ll be meeting shortly,” he said ahead of Saturday’s visit of Getafe.

“I’m not that worried about it, I’m worried about the game. I’ll listen to what Dunga wants and think about the best thing for Rafinha as well, who’s also in the Olympics Squad. Dani Alves as well.

“But we want to work for the best of the players, we want them to be fit. That’s what we’re going to talk about.

“My job is sometimes not to let people know what I think. What we have in common is wanting the best for Neymar.”

Barca boast an eight-point lead over Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga and Luis Enrique is determined to finish the campaign as strongly as possible in order to see them over the line in their title defence.

Indeed, the former Celta Vigo boss pointed to Bayern Munich’s five-point advantage in the Bundesliga before their 0-0 draw with Borussia Dortmund last week as proof of the perils of attempting to sustain a lead.

“Our toughest rivals are Atletico, as they are second, then Madrid in third,” he said, looking ahead to the final few weeks of the title race, with a Copa del Rey final against Sevilla also on the horizon.

“We’ve finished every season better than we’ve started. That’s not just due to fitness. I’ve always tried to make sure the club is better in the final stages of the season, to keep the fans, players and club stimulated.

“You can talk about whatever you want, I talk about getting three points against Getafe. If we get them then we can talk more about winning the treble.

“We’re exactly where we wanted to be at the start of the season, but we need to confirm things with titles. But let’s be optimistic – why not.

“We have a good lead on Atletico, but look at Germany – they’ve had a huge lead all season, but Bayern could have dropped to a two-point lead had they lost to Borussia Dortmund.

“We don’t really worry about our unbeaten run. I don’t really care about those things, I just think about playing football and winning games.

“If we get more points than any other team then we will win the league. It’s that simple.”

Fri 11 Mar, 2016
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