Barcelona midfield trio fighting fever to make Athletic game

January 26, 2016 10:50 pm

REUTERS – Barcelona midfielders Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Arda Turan are trying to shake off the flu in a bid to be fit for Wednesday’s King’s Cup quarter-final second leg at home to Athletic Bilbao.

The trio will be included in the matchday squad if they have recovered in good time, coach Luis Enrique told a news conference on Tuesday.

“They have a fever… Tomorrow we’ll see how they are feeling,” said Luis Enrique, who believes his side will be up against a determined Athletic side after their 2-1 home defeat in last week’s first leg.

“I don’t expect anything different (from them), in fact (they’ll be) more dangerous because the first leg result is no good to them… With a win we avoid any complications,” he added.

Luis Enrique would not be drawn on Saturday’s La Liga top-of-the-table clash with Atletico Madrid at the Nou Camp, saying the only match that concerned him was against Bilbao.

Barca are on a 24-match unbeaten run in all competitions, but Luis Enrique is concerned about avoiding burnout in a side who have played 36 games this season.

“I’m concerned about the wear because we have played lots of matches and lots of minutes,” he said.

“But the team are in good shape, despite playing at high intensity. Of course, it’s this intensity that has us up there. It shows we are consistent.

“We are at a key stage in the season which puts you close to winning titles,” added Luis Enrique, who said he expected Neymar to stay at Barcelona after reports Real Madrid were willing to pay his buy out clause.

“I think he’ll end up renewing,” said Luis Enrique of the Brazilian ace who has two years left on his contract with Barcelona.

(Reporting by Rex Gowar in London, editing by Ed Osmond)

Dhruv George

Dhruv George is an author for the Formula One and NASCAR division of EssentiallySports. He is a life-long F1 and MotoGP fan, developing a liking for McLaren and Carlos Sainz Jr, and recently began to follow NASCAR. He graduated from Xavier Institute of Communications, Mumbai, with a PG Diploma in Journalism and now lives in Trivandrum.

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