Luis Enrique: Barcelona did not need change in attitude

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said he does not agree with superstar Lionel Messi that early January's 1-0 loss at Real Sociedad proved to be a turning point in the team's season.

At his Friday news conference the Barca boss was repeatedly pressed on comments made by Messi the previous day, where the Blaugrana No. 10 said the dressing room had decided a change of attitude and motivation was needed after the painful loss against David Moyes' side in their first game of 2015.

The coach, who has never denied that he was involved in a training ground row with Messi in the build-up to that game, and whose job came under threat in the turmoil following the shock defeat, stuck to the line that his team had been playing the same way since the start of the season.

"I do not get into these controversies," Luis Enrique said. "We are working on the same things. All this is a process, and develops over the season. I have no reason to change my opinion. If you believe me or not, that is your problem. If [Messi] believes that then that is fine. I am just giving my opinion."

Luis Enrique did say however that his team was "in good spirits" on the back of 11 straight wins as they head into the return of Champions League action and big games in both the Copa del Rey and La Liga.

"The most important months of the season are coming, knockout ties, the Copa semifinal and important games in La Liga," he said. "And it catches us in good spirits."

However, even with Tuesday's Champions League last-16 first leg at Manchester City looming on the horizon, Luis Enrique said his full focus for the moment was on Malaga in La Liga on Saturday at the Camp Nou.

"I will have patience and wait a few days before thinking about that game," he said. "It is all about Malaga at the moment. Although the players are used to playing every three days, we are not in La Liga to forget about the importance of these three points."

September's reverse fixture at La Rosaleda finished 0-0, with Javi Gracia's well-organised side stopping Barca from even making many chances.

"They deserve a lot of credit that in the game we played they managed to stop us from having a shot," Luis Enrique said. "I do not remember. But they were very well closed up. I hope it does not happen again. We have learned things over the season. They are missing important players. We hope we can do them damage."

The Asturian coach also declined to comment too much on the Spanish government's Anti-Violence commission having requested that Barca identify the individuals who were caught on camera during the team's last home game singing that Cristiano Ronaldo was "a drunk."

"When we are playing I do not hear the songs sung, I just hear the noise of fans supporting their team," he said. "This is just about more controversies, which do not interest me."

Luis Enrique was much more open when talking of a ceremony held on Friday morning at which Tito Vilanova's family were present. The club named the primary training pitch in memory of the former Barca coach, who died from cancer in April 2014.

"I did not have the good fortune to work with him," Luis Enrique said. "I know from the people at the club that a great person was lost. It was a nice moment to be able to recognise all his professionalism and friendship."