Barcelona FC coach Luis Enrique is not concerned by Neymar’s recent goal drought and is confident the Brazil forward will soon return to top form as Barca continue their bid to repeat 2009’s historic treble.
After an impressive first half of the season, Neymar has gone off the boil since the turn of the year and has not scored for the leaders in La Liga since hitting the opener in a 5-0 win at home to Levante on Feb. 15.
The 23-year-old looked particularly out of sorts in Sunday’s 1-0 win at Celta Vigo and spent much of the game locked in an unseemly battle with Celta fullback Hugo Mallo.
“I am not worried at all,” Luis Enrique told a news conference previewing Wednesday’s La Liga match at home to Almeria.
“We are talking about an outstanding player, a top player,” added the former Barca and Spain midfielder, who is enjoying a successful first term in charge at the Nou Camp.
“And from what I see in training I am sure his scoring streak will soon return and he will be back on top form.
“Now he is helping us in a less spectacular way, less visible for you, but he gives the team a lot of things that I consider important.”
Barca can stretch their lead over second-placed Real Madrid to seven points with a win against Almeria, applying more pressure on Real whose game at Madrid neighbours Rayo Vallecano kicks off two hours later.
Luis Enrique’s side are through to the last eight of the Champions League to face Paris St Germain and will seek a record-extending 27th King’s Cup triumph when they play Athletic Bilbao in the final on May 30.
Barca became the only Spanish side to win the treble of domestic league and Cup and Champions League in Pep Guardiola’s first season at the helm in 2008-09.
Guardiola was a former team mate of Luis Enrique, as was Almeria’s new coach Sergi Barjuan, who agreed to take over at the struggling Andalucian side on Monday following Sunday’s sacking of Juan Ignacio Martinez.
“He is a friend and I am in touch with him from time to time,” Luis Enrique said.
“I am pleased he has this opportunity and I hope he makes the most of it starting on Thursday.”