matchdays | 2017-01-26
Luis Enrique: 'The squad is eager to continue to make history'
The Barcelona coach foresees a tough quarterfinals second leg versus Real Sociedad
Barcelona will host Real Sociedad on Thursday for the second leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals after having beating the Basque side 0-1 in Anoeta. The away goal was an important feat of the first leg but the Catalan players should not get too confident, as the coach Luis Enrique warned in today’s presser: “It would be a mistake if we relaxed one bit. We’ll need maximum concentration and battle for the victory. It’s a dangerous match because of how they play and my team is aware of that.”
Lucho continued: “Real Sociedad play the same way at home and away; they put pressure high up the field and that is something we will have to take into account if we are to go through. When they don’t have the ball, they pressure intensely. We will have some difficulties when playing from the back.”
The Blaugranas are on a four-win streak which has given them confidence to face the challenges up ahead, as stated by the Asturian coach: “Our shape is optimal, the same we have had all season. I’ve always seen optimism in the squad and the results only reinforce that idea. They have the same eagerness and hunger to keep making history. The Copa del Rey is an attractive competition and it has great memories for us and we want to continue in it. The incentive is obvious.”
When asked about the absences of Sergio Busquets and Andrés Iniesta, two of the cornerstones of this amazing team, Lucho said that “it’s clear they’re two of the best players in their position but every team goes through this situations. I’m focusing on the ones available. I have to look for alternatives and I got plenty of options, of a very good level”, he remarked.
Luis Enrique was emphatic when talking about Lionel Messi’s career since his breakthrough with Barça’s first team: “His development is evident and it has gone hand in hand with his increasing maturity. There have been years when he has been a goalscorer but now he has evolved to a complete footballer, he’s capable of everything in attack and defense. He is a player who doesn’t need to use his physical strength and that makes him unique. Since he is very smart he’ll make up for the possible physical setbacks he may have in a distant future.”