Suarez Set To Play For Barca B
Barcelona marquee signing Luis Suarez is set to play a friendly for the club's B team against Indonesia on Wednesday to maintain his fitness until his ban ends in October, coach Luis Enrique said on Tuesday.
The Catalan club splashed out â‚¬81 million on the controversial Uruguayan knowing that they would not be able to use him in an official match from the start after he was given a four-month ban for biting at the World Cup.
“He has been training hard, showing a lot of willingness and is looking forward to returning so this game does look like a good opportunity to give him a run out if (Barca B coach) Eusebio is happy to do that,” Luis Enrique told a news conference in Barcelona.
Suarez was initially prohibited from being engaged in any footballing activities but on appeal he has been allowed to return to training and to play friendly games.
The former Liverpool hitman already played in a match between the Barca first team and the reserves and the game against Indonesia will be another chance for him to sharpen up.
Although early days, Barcelona have made their best ever start to a La Liga campaign in his absence with four straight wins without conceding a goal.
Their defence was a weakness last season and an important reason why all the major trophies escaped them, but they looking more solid as they prepare to take on Malaga on Wednesday.
“We are doing well there is no doubt and I think that we will still improve at the back. It still doesn't mean that we won't go on to concede goals and lose matches and we are looking to improve individually and as a group,” said Luis Enrique.
The coach has been pleased with the impact of new signing Jeremy Mathieu who has become his preferred choice ahead of Gerard Pique.
“We brought him in for his qualities as a left-footed central defender and someone who can play at left back. He has boosted the backline but he can still improve,” said Luis Enrique.
“I have no problem with Gerard who has a great attitude. I like his open, good humoured style. He has overcome a hip problem and is working hard.
“We face a Malaga side who will be tough and they have Santa Cruz as a focal point in attack. They have a lot of players behind him that can cause problems and are dangerous from long balls and set-plays so we have been concentrating on this.”