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Luis Enrique: ‘The key to beat Villarreal is being reliable in possession’

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Luis Enrique: ‘The key to beat Villarreal is being reliable in possession’

The Barça coach clears any doubts about the team’s performance after the loss in the Spanish Cup

FC Barcelona head coach, Luis Enrique Martínez García, talked with the press ahead of the match against Villarreal this Sunday at El Madrigal. The Barça manager remarked the competitiveness of the Valencian side: “Villarreal play well and create attacking opportunities and they’re solid defensively as well. We are coming into this game against them knowing how good they are as a team. They are the team who have conceded the least number of goals thanks to their coach's great work over the last few years. They are an attacking side who can score goals but also hard to break down and good in defence. Both teams will want to keep the ball and dominate possession and this will be key.”

The Asturian coach understands the importance of tomorrow’s game in order to not lose track of the league title race: “We want the three points and know we will have to play very well to get them as it will be a difficult game. They are near the top of the table and they do things the right way. It will be hard as they want possession just as much as we do. We will have to press well and be reliable when in possession of the ball. The key is to dominate the ball against a team like this. We still got margin for errors because no team is going to win every match but by winning we keep pressuring the league leaders.”

Lucho showed optimism even after the defeat versus Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Cup: “I said it after the game and now that I have analyzed it, I reiterate that in Bilbao we played very well and created lots of chances. The team deserved more and we won't change the way we set ourselves up for the next game even though we didn't get the result we wanted in San Mamés. When you don't get what you want from a game it is normal to be angry but the players handled the pressure well. The whole team had a very positive attitude in Bilbao. They closed space down well without the ball, pressed high up the pitch and kept their shape well. I have the same gameplan [against Villarreal] independently of what happened a few days ago. There are teams who can cause problems by pressing high up the pitch but they can also sit back and pack the defence. There is no magic formula.”

Luis Enrique had praising words for Neymar Jr. and his great performance versus the Basque side: “Neymar is playing well, he has always been very mature during his career and handles all kind of stressful situations well, I am sure he will score goals. The professionals look at the bright side of things, the dark ones take you to worse places.”

Asked about the refereeing controversies during the latest Spanish Cup matches, he said he “didn’t have anything to say about it. I’m in favor of anything that helps the referees and improves the footballing show and protects the players. We have to help the referees; all the professionals and the football world. It’s very hard to make a decision in a tenth of a second but in this country everything is magnified. My message will be always the same”, Luis Enrique concluded.

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