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Luis Enrique Insists He Faces No Ultimatum but His Barcelona Future Is at Risk

Published by Bleacher Report on Wed, 07 Jan 2015

The walls are closing in on Luis Enrique and the Asturian coach stands firm in the middle, refusing to put his arms out and try to hold them off.In his press conference ahead of Barcelona's Copa del Rey game against Elche on Thursday night, Enrique insisted that he had not been given an ultimatum by president Josep Maria Bartomeu.In fact, he claimed that he was as happy as he was on the day he arrived at Barcelona, if not happier."I haven't received an ultimatum. I've never had any such threat in my entire career. For me, the situation is optimistic - we're alive in all three competitions. I've got no complaints about our fans," he said, per Sport."I'm as happy as the day I first came here, if not happier. I think the way the club and players have acted towards me has been exquisite. We know that there are things to be improved and we will improve them, we need to do that to win titles, but I'm generally very positive."These seem like the words of a man who is ignoring his impending doom and continuing to pretend that carrying on along the same path will see him do just fine.That is not the case. The ultimatum claimed was that if Barcelona do not perform well in their next two matches, against Elche and then Atletico Madrid on Sunday, then Enrique will be given the chop.Even if, as Enrique says, that is not in place, should his side lose at home to Diego Simeone's champions then he will be fearing for his job.Enrique's comments about the alleged rift with Lionel Messi were revealing. The coach was asked if Messi was still "delighted" to be at the club and he replied:I don't want to comment on that one. We know that things change in football. A month is a long time. I've only been here for around five months, something like that. Things have changed, but it's really up to you to speak to the parties.There is still time for Lucho to save his job but he needs to wake up and smell the coffee. That means changing his management style and perhaps even doing the one thing he seems most reluctant to do; pander to Lionel Messi.The manager wanted to punish the player for not turning up to the open training session on Monday, but was persuaded otherwise by Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and Sergio Busquets, per Sport.Furthermore, some of the players are unhappy with the way that Lucho reveals the team for each game, with all the players required to report to the Ciutat Esportiva, per Mundo Deportivo, h/t Weloba.As part of a list of problems the players have with Enrique, they wrote:Luis Enrique asks the players to come to the sports center to discover who will be included in the squad list. Those excluded can return home. If the match is away, they all have to bring luggage. Usually, players coming back home feel annoyed and wonder if Luis Enrique would have liked to be treated the same way as a player.But Enrique said in his press conference on Wednesday: "I'm not going to change the way I announce the squad. I'm going to carry on working the same way I always have done since I started working here."This, in a microcosm, shows that Enrique is refusing to adapt. And you must adapt. Adapt or die. The walls continue to move inwards.
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