"So we don't go talking about what happens if we end up with no deal, but quietly, assiduously, those preparations will be in place".
Theresa May has said she is "pretty resilient" and it is not her style to "hide from a challenge" despite a mishap-strewn party conference speech.
While May has called for a two-year transition period after Brexit to ease the impact on the economy, hardline Brexiteers want to cut ties with Europe more decisively.
That all but rules out "miracles" on key divorce issues that Barnier's boss says are needed for May's 27 fellow European Union leaders to agree to open the talks she wants on a post-Brexit free trade pact when they all meet in Brussels next Thursday and Friday.
He has made it clear in the European parliament that he will be looking for the UK's commitment to fully honor its existing financial commitments and reiterated that until this is done, no future talks are possible. But though British ministers talk of a "bespoke" deal to exit EU rules while retaining market access, EU officials warn that time is running out for London to find any option other than to agree to something like the status of Norway - being in the EU market and accepting rules on which is has no vote.
This stalemate is bad news and makes either no deal or a best-case-scenario bad deal the most likely outcome.
The fear in European capitals is that May is no longer calling the shots, making it virtually impossible to negotiate with the British government.
Many colleagues publicly condemned the attempt and backed their leader, but the Sunday Times reported that at least three cabinet ministers had discussed the need to replace her this week.
"This will never be a 100% win for one side or the other side".
However, she said in a statement that it was "patently obvious" that the EU's test of "sufficient progress" on key divorce issues were not yet met. He said they intend to drag out the talks and that the chances of jobs shifting to European capitals like Amsterdam, Frankfurt or Paris is increasing.
The EU Parliament voted last week to block Brexit talks from moving onto discussions about Britain's future relationship.
In the wake of the Brexit referendum, the British Conservative Party changed. But May's powerful peers may find it hard to sit back and watch her fail, provoking further British turmoil.
"While I believe it is profoundly in all our interests for the negotiations to succeed, it is also our responsibility as a government to prepare for every eventuality, so that is exactly what we are doing", she said. Just underlining that it is important that both sides are ready and able to move on.
United Kingdom business has been calling for this for months, even as recently as the Party Conference season when a number of business groups have said their members fear for the future of the economy while no clear plan for our exit is being discussed.