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2017/2018 Season

1 Barcelona 28 9 1 93
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Luis Enrique: There will be changes

New Barcelona boss Luis Enrique says he plans to make improvements in all areas of the team and indicated that few players could be certain over their futures after the disappointments of this season.

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Enrique formally signed his two-year contract to succeed Gerardo Martino as first-team coach on Wednesday before laying out his plans for the job to the media.

The former Barca player and Barca B coach told those present that last season's performances were not good enough and that he planned to make sweeping changes to the squad ahead of the 2013-14 campaign.

"The players must know that you cannot let a year pass at Barca," he said. "If they are not at the level required then there will be changes. We will reinforce the team in the best way possible, to be as competitive as possible. There is a market there -- teams ask a lot of money for players. You must manage it all. We will reinforce, maybe in all lines of the team, to have the best players for the club and for me."

There has been speculation that a host of high-profile players including Xavi Hernandez, Cesc Fabregas and Javier Mascherano could make way.

Asked about the trio, he said: "I know Xavi. He is a friend, an ex-teammate. I could tell you great things about him. We will sit down and talk, and see what he wants and what we want. He has a big date with the World Cup.

"I do not want to talk too much about individuals. Good and important players will stay. We will look at everyone and then see what we do. We do not have to make decisions now. We have time."

Barcelona have at least made clear that Lionel Messi is not for sale. The forward signed a new contract on Monday and Enrique is hopeful he will recover his best form next season.

"I am delighted to have the best player in the world in the squad," he said. "The club thinks the same. He just renewed his contract, so he is delighted to be here too. It is obvious that Leo's performances last season were not as incredible as in other years, but he remains the number one. We have got used to his amazing figures.

"He brings more than just goals. He is very important with the group. We want him at his best; if not, we will look to help him so that he is."

It was made clear that Neymar -- Barca's big-money signing last summer -- is another player who is expected to stay.

"He is obviously one of the most important players in the team, was a big investment by the club and I am happy to have him," Enrique said.

He also stressed that, more than just reshaping the squad and changing the team's playing style, his task was to command the trust of the players as he seeks to take the club forwards.

"This job is about more than being just a coach -- it is about being a leader," he said. "The capacity to lead as a coach is important in many ways. I am not just talking about tactical or technical issues but how to manage a group, manage egos, motivate them. We will attack, play attractive football, entertain fans all over the world.

"Barca has an attractive idea of football, but we also have to defend and concentrate, and work hard. The way of playing will be the same as for many years now, but you must evolve the ideas, and improve on them, based on players you have."


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