Barcelona coach Luis Enrique believes the club's transfer ban is "an invitation" for players from their famed youth academy to push for a place in the first team.

The Catalan club have been renowned for their development of young talent through the La Masia academy since the arrival in the late 1980s of Dutch coach Johan Cruyff, who put a special emphasis on nurturing home grown players.

Barcelona, who are second behind Real Madrid in La Liga, are banned from buying players during the January transfer window and for the summer transfer period before the 2015-16 season. That means they cannot sign a player until January 2016.

Enrique started his managerial career with Barca B under Pep Guardiola and has already handed debuts to Munir El Haddadi, Sandro Ramirez and Sergi Samper in his first six months in charge at the Camp Nou. Barca B won the under-19 Champions League last season.

"The decision didn't surprise us as it seemed likely, we would have preferred it to be different but that's the way it is," Luis Enrique told a news conference.

"The squad though is sufficiently strong and this is a stimulus for the youth players. It is an invitation for them to show what they can do.

"We are a club that likes to make use of the youth system although we do supplement it by buying players and now we can take advantage of this.

"Barca B is set up to feed the first team with players and I am happy with the way things are going and what they are offering us."

Barcelona lie second in La Liga, a point behind Real Madrid, who have played a game fewer. They face a difficult test on Sunday away to David Moyes' Real Sociedad, to kick off a hectic month.

"We have drawn against them twice and lost three times in recent years so we know what we are up against," said Luis Enrique.

"They are now showing more drive (under Moyes) although he has only been there for a few games. Real have recovered their intensity and the aggression in their pressing.

"We have to go there and be very intense because if we are not then we will suffer."

Source: Agencies