Barcelona prepared for playing without Lionel Messi - Luis Enrique
Luis Enrique says Barcelona will not change their style when playing without the injured Lionel Messi over the coming weeks.
Messi, 28, suffered a knee injury early in Saturday's 2-1 win at home to Las Palmas and now faces seven to eight weeks on the sidelines, although Argentina team doctor Donato Villani has said the forward could be back in action before then.
But while Luis Enrique has said Barca will clearly miss the Argentina captain, they do still have a plan in place to win matches without their talisman, starting with Tuesday's Champions League clash against Bayer Leverkusen.
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"There is no substitute for Messi, it will be a challenge to be competitive without him," Luis Enrique told a news conference. "But we are going to have the same football plan that we use but with other players.
"During preseason we had matches without Messi, Neymar, we used the same plan with other players. It is a challenge to be competiting minus the best player in the world. Pretending to be able to substitute a player like Leo is impossible."
Luis Enrique added that he expects his players to make the step up given Messi's absence.
"It is impossible that a manager can ask a player to take a step forward, that is [the player's] job," he said. "That is how I understand it. Neymar must continue to be Neymar and he does that very well. Luis Suarez must continue to be Luis Suarez, he also does that well. They all must take a step forward."
Despite a spell on the sidelines for Messi, Luis Enrique said the forward is keeping upbeat about the injury.
"He came here yesterday so we could see him and he was cheering us on," Luis Enrique said. "Now he has two fewer days that he will be in recovery. Time is working in his favour. I see him in a very good mood."