Messi notches assist record; Suarez 'very happy' at Barca, says Luis Enrique
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said he was only interested in trophies, not records, after a couple more historic marks tumbled during Sunday afternoon's 5-0 La Liga win over Levante at the Camp Nou.
In his 300th La Liga game Lionel Messi scored his 23rd competition hat-trick, with Neymar and Luis Suarez also getting on the scoresheet as Barca moved back to within one point of La Liga leaders Real Madrid.
Barca's 11th straight win in all competitions equalled the all-time best club run set during Josep Guardiola's trophy-strewn spell in charge, and the blaugrana coach told his postmatch news conference that in the end it was only silverware which really counted.
"I did not know we had equalled that record," Luis Enrique said. "I am not that interested. We will judge that when the season is over. If we win trophies, it will be very good."
Messi's treble moved him to 26 La Liga goals for the season, within two of current 'pichichi' leader Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid [who at one point had a 13 goal lead in top-scorer race]. The Argentine also broke the known La Liga record for assists with the 106th of his career, when his cross was slightly fortunately converted by Neymar for the game's opening goal.
Luis Enrique hailed another display of all-round excellence from his number ten, saying he had not thought of giving him a rest even with the game won.
"I did not change [Messi] because the idea is to enjoy him as much as possible," he said. "Against teams who sit back and defend we must have depth and be creative at pace. For Leo to participate a lot is key. When there are people inside it is difficult, but he knew how to solve well all the problems."
The Asturian coach had made eight changes to this starting lineup, including leaving Suarez on the bench, only for the former Liverpool player to enter as a substitute and score the game's best goal with an acrobatic late bicycle kick.
"The objective we set out was to have a deep squad and with a lot of quality," Luis Enrique said. "We are satisfied. In the first half we lacked balance, but in the second half we finished off very well. They all wanted to play a part in this run. [Suarez's] goal came after a sensational move by Adriano. He is very happy on a personal level, and that is good news for everyone."
There was also a rare La Liga start for Spanish World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012 winner Pedro Rodriguez, who has spoken recently of perhaps leaving next summer in search of more playing time elsewhere, but who remains very much in Luis Enrique's plans.
"[Pedro] has been, is, and will be, key for us," he said. "It is impossible to play more, but I know that when we need him he will be there. He brings us a lot of things -- he scores goals, plays well in space ... you never know."