Luis Enrique says he is unable to satisfy the demands of every player in the Barcelona squad as Aleix Vidal continues to struggle for minutes early in 2016-17.
Signed from Sevilla in June 2015, the 27-year-old was expected to succeed Dani Alves, who left for Juventus in the off-season, as Barca’s first-choice right-back.
However, Vidal has found himself out of favour so far this term, with midfielder Sergi Roberto instead used in a wide defensive role, while Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin has been linked with a switch to Catalonia as a potential long-term solution to the problem position.
Speaking ahead of the champions’ crunch match at home to title rivals Atletico Madrid in LaLiga on Wednesday, Luis Enrique offered a reminder that Vidal and other fringe players like him will have to wait their turn as the campaign progresses.
“This is what it’s going to be like throughout the season,” the head coach said.
“If we’re not going to talk about which players are going to play, we’ll be talking about something else.
“It’s something between me and my players. We have a unique team which is very good. And these types of things are going to happen every week.
“What do the players have to do? They have to keep improving their performance, all of them. There aren’t any exceptions. They know what I look for in players, not just individually but as a team.
“Everybody makes mistakes. Coaches as well. We try to keep them to a minimum. People need to get minutes. I can’t give minutes to everybody, that’s impossible. But I’ve always said, since the beginning I’d like to count on the maximum number of players.
“It seems like maybe I haven’t been telling the truth but the reality is it’s impossible to do that.”
France international Antoine Griezmann is likely to be crucial to Atleti’s hopes of earning a positive result at Camp Nou.
The former Real Sociedad player, who starred at Euro 2016 on home soil, is expected to rival Barca’s Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid for this year’s Ballon d’Or award.
And while Luis Enrique willingly acknowledged Griezmann’s quality, he carefully avoided making a direct comparison between the 25-year-old and LaLiga’s other superstars.
“He’s one of the world’s best forwards without a doubt, because of what he’s won, his individual performances,” he coach said.
“He’s outstanding, worldwide and in Europe. But I’m not going to create any controversy in relation to that.”