Luis Enrique: Nothing in Pique exclusion

Luis Enrique insists there is nothing to read into Gerard Pique's recent omission from Barcelona's starting XI.

Centre-back Pique was not in the squad for the 1-0 defeat to Celta Vigo in La Liga last weekend and only made the substitutes bench for the 2-0 victory over Ajax in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.

Reports in the Spanish press suggest that Pique is being punished after he was supposedly caught on his mobile phone during a recent Copa Catalunya match with Espanyol.

Barca coach Luis Enrique has rubbished those suggestions, though, and stated that Pique is doing everything he can to earn a recall.

"He's [Pique] doing everything a footballer can do," he said ahead of Barca's clash at Almeria on Saturday. "I'll leave it to the press to blow things out of proportion.

"None of my players have showed a bad attitude since I've been here, in training or in games. I'm happy about that."

Barca travel to Almeria just three days after their Champions League match against Ajax in Amsterdam.

Luis Enrique admits the timing of the game is not ideal but will not use fixture congestion as an excuse for standards to drop.

"It is [not ideal] to play so soon, but it is what it is and we can do nothing about it," he added. "There are no excuses."