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SPANISH PRIMERA DIVISIÓN

2017/2018 Season

POS TEAM W D L PTS
1 Barcelona 10 1 0 31
2 Valencia 8 3 0 27
3 Real Madrid 7 2 2 23
View Full Table »

Barcelona players caught off guard by Luis Enrique decision - Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez admits Barcelona's players were caught off guard by the timing of Luis Enrique's announcement that he will leave the club at the end of the season.

Luis Enrique told the dressing room he would not be renewing his contract beyond its June expiry following Wednesday's 6-1 win over Sporting Gijon, which took the Blaugrana above Real Madrid at the top of La Liga.

Uruguay international Suarez says the timing did come as a shock, but was keen to add that he and his teammates respect their coach's decision.

"To be honest it surprised us a little," Suarez told Onda Cero. "We didn't expect it, but it's a decision which we understand and we accept.

"It's understandable based on many things which have happened. His reason is more than acceptable because the role of a manager is really difficult, it takes a lot of hours of work.

"He needs to enjoy himself, too. He's a father. He has a family. The age of his kids... they're experiencing their best moments and he wants to enjoy it with them. We've got no problem accepting it."

Luis Enrique explained on Friday that he needs to "disconnect" from the stress which has come from being in charge of Barca for three seasons.

Luis Suarez said he understands Luis Enrique's situation.

Catalan newspaper Diario Sport had previously reported that an eery silence fell over the dressing room when the Barca coach made the announcement on Wednesday.

None of the players -- bar Ivan Rakitic, who spoke to the club's television channel -- came through the mixed zone to speak to the media and Suarez's radio interview on Thursday night made him the first player to speak in depth about Luis Enrique's departure.

"No one asked or said anything because when the manger renewed [in 2015] we didn't ask why," Suarez said when asked about the silence among the players when learning of their boss' decision.

"So why would we ask why he wasn't going to continue? Plus we all understand the situation and the decisions each person takes."

Barca now have three months left with Luis Enrique in charge and remain in three competitions.

While they face the tough task of turning around a four-goal deficit against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, they're enjoying better fortune domestically, where they're top of the league and into May's Copa del Rey final.

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.

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