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Jun 18, 2013

Celta's Enrique to focus on youth

Luis Enrique said his focus as the new Celta Vigo coach would be on developing young players, adding that he would not rule out returning to his former clubs Barcelona or Roma to sign promising talent.

Enrique faces a tough challenge at Celta, who escaped relegation on the last day of last season and are losing important senior players including Liverpool-bound Iago Aspas and former captain Roberto Lago, who has joined Getafe.

Speaking to reporters at his first public appearance since it was announced that he would replace Abel Resino at Balaidos, he said his objective was to play good football in keeping with the reputation of the club.

"My objective is to make the most competitive squad possible, supported by good football," Enrique said in quotes reported by Marca. "I am going to fit perfectly into Celta's philosophy."

Speculation about potential transfer targets has centred around former Enrique charges including Barca B playmaker Rafinha Alcantara and Roma left-back Jose Angel, while 22-year-old Brondby midfielder Jens Stryger Larsen has also been linked.

But the new coach said: "Maybe we cannot go into the transfer market, but developing players is very exciting. We are not going to talk about signings, as that always raises the price."

He said some of Celta's highly-rated prospects, including goalkeeper Ruben Blanco, 17, and 21-year-old midfielder Levy Madinda, would get further chances to impress next season.

"Celta has been working on this aspect for years - you can see the infrastructure and things they have been doing well," he said. A bet has been made on the cantera [young players] - but they will have to win their place in the team like anyone else."

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