Assessing Luis Enrique's impact on Barcelona

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Presiding over seven La Liga games without defeat is a great stat for any manager, but to do so without letting in a goal is nothing short of sensational.

Below par performances at Malaga and PSG aside, Luis Enrique should be extremely satisfied with his work at the Blaugrana helm so far.

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A sign of just how well things have gone to this point is that there are no longer any noises concerning his unsuccessful stint at AS Roma or whether a lack of managerial experience at the very top level would hinder him.

Right from the very first day in the hot-seat, ex-Blaugrana captain Enrique has set his stall out.

Clear and logical ideas that have set extremely well with his staff.

Brilliant Neymar

One of the biggest plus points has to be the form of Neymar. The Brazilian is on fire at present and much of this has to be attributed to Lucho's studious development of the player.

Neymar is much more direct and involved than we saw under Tata Martino. A penchant for staying out on the touchline has been replaced with more urgency and a desire to move infield to receive the ball.

It's a work ethic that has been replicated right across the team and two of the new signings, Ivan Rakitic and Jeremy Mathieu, have embodied the philosophy that the manager wants to see form his staff.

Skill and entertainment as necessary but not at the expense of industry and hard work.

Lionel Messi is yet another success story.

PSG disappointment

Whilst the Argentine's skill set and quality has never been in doubt, his application was being questioned towards the latter part of last season as Barca limped across the finish line with a series of disappointing displays.

Despite a draining World Cup tournament when Messi's father was forced to defend his son saying his legs "weighed 100 kilos" and he was "suffering from exhaustion," their have been no ill effects and seven goals plus eight assists already tells its own story.

The one blot on the copybook so far is the manner in which Barca succumbed to PSG in the Champions League.

In their first real test this season, the Catalan's were found wanting at times and that will be a concern to the manager.

Suarez return pivotal

With no new signings able to fire up the squad come January, Enrique knows he has to work with what he already has in-situ.

To that end, Luis Suarez's return in a fortnight could prove to be pivotal and it will be very interesting indeed to see how quickly the Uruguayan dovetails with Messi and Neymar in a devastating new-look attack.

All in all, it's been an almost perfect beginning for Luis Enrique but in a results based business, he will be judged more readily later in the season.

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Luis Enrique
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