EPL 2016/17: Luis Enrique responds to the water bottle incident at Valencia
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has responded to last week’s bottle throwing incident at the Mestalla. Insisting that his players won’t be affected by the ongoing controversy Enrique stated, “I'm focused on the football side of things and [Saturday's] game. We're accustomed to an infinite number of controversies and this is just another one.
The incident occurred last weekend when a water bottle was launched as the Barcelona player’s celebrated Lionel Messi's late winner in front of the Valencia supporters. At the time, the incident was condemned by both clubs.
As a result, Los Che was fined €1,500 for the incident, and Barcelona was also reprimanded by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) for provoking Valencia supporters. However, the manner in which the Spanish RFEF has acted has left a lot to be desired.
Enrique is focussing on the game
Enrique, speaking ahead of the tie against Granada, chose to focus on the game on hand stating, “I'm here to talk football. Everyone's made their point, expressed their opinion. I'm focused on Granada.”
Walking away from any further controversies, the midfielder stated, “I'm not going to stoke the fire anymore. The only thing I can say about my players is, we won the fair play award, we have club values, which are playing well and not trying to hurt other players.”
Recent comments by La Liga president Javier Tebas in which he accused the Barcelona players of collapsing “like bowling pins” and faking contact has not gone down well with the Blaugrana support.
The report prepared by the RFEF condemned the Barcelona players and stated, “The reproachable behaviour shown by some of the F.C. Barcelona players, who made certain gestures and expressions to the [Valencia] supporters as they celebrated the goal they'd just scored, should not be overlooked. Nor was it precisely an example of sportsmanship the way some of the club's players reacted without having come into contact with the bottle by simultaneously feigning they'd been struck by the object. The aforementioned behaviour by some players from F.C. Barcelona discredits and ridicules [themselves].”
This has indeed led to certain provocative actions by the Blaugrana, who have now asked the Administrative Court for Sport (TAS) to take action against the Spanish RFEF competition committee as well as La Liga president Javier Tebas.
Enrique is well aware of the task in hand having fallen two points of the top of the league table. Barcelona has been riddled with injuries in recent weeks, with club captain Andres Iniesta slated to be out until December.
Barcelona play Granada at home on Saturday night at the Nou Camp, followed by a trip to Manchester City mid-week in the Champions League.
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