Barça defeated Real Sociedad with a solid performance against an opponent that didn’t give anything away and battled until the final whistle, as Luis Enrique explained: “We knew about the difficulty of this match. We have completed a very good first half, we have had great chances and Rulli (Real Sociedad’s goalkeeper) stopped them all. In the second half, there was intensity, we perceived the opponent’s fatigue and we saw our chances increase by the minute.”

Barcelona’s coach added: “We have performed very well in a match where the adversary defended with solidity. It has been a tough match and we struggled to win but we have been excellent on a physical level.”

The team accumulated 25 scored goals without conceding a single one in the last seven matches, an outstanding streak that resulted from “the hard work in every aspect of the game” as the Asturian said. “The fact that we create so many scoring chances per game and that we don’t concede many goals, it gives you confidence. We have a game plan and we execute it wonderfully and for that we need everyone’s help.”

The coach jumped with excitement and joined in a hug with the technical staff when Pedro scored a superb bicycle goal. He understands the forward is not pleased with his role as a substitute: “He’s a key player who has contributed all through the season. He’s an example for his teammates. However, it’s obvious everybody wants to play more, especially him.”

He added: “I can only say wonderful things about Pedro. For him it’s a tough situation, because he’s a top player and he’s struggling this season to take part in the matches. He always brings something different, though, he trains very hard because he’s a complete professional and he always delivers when needed. It’s a pleasure to have him in the squad.”

Regarding Pedro’s outstanding overhead kick goal, Luis Enrique said: “He had done that already in trainings. It was a difficult bicycle goal because the ball was very high. It was a great finish from a special player.”

The first goal came early in the second half after a Neymar header: “We were playing a great match, we worked hard for the goal that came at the right time,” the Brazilian said after the game. He scored his 35th goal of the season, on the verge of overcoming the 36 goals Samuel Eto’o scored in the 2008/09 spell, the last striker other than Messi to achieve such numbers. “From the start I was very pleased with my teammates and the staff. We are hoping to finish this as an awesome season,” Neymar added.

Everything is easier when you don’t allow many goals and have a great defense, to the point of achieving 22 clean sheets with just 19 goals conceded in 36 league matches: “It provides me confidence because we work hard to perform well,” said Claudio Bravo about this. “If the Zamora Trophy arrives then so be it, but I dream about winning titles which is the team’s objective,” concluded the ‘keeper.

Regarding the upcoming second leg semifinal match against Bayern Munich, the coach and the players were cautious: “We are going to struggle in Munich, I don’t have any doubts and neither do my players,” Luis Enrique said. “We will strive to win. We know it’s not going to be easy, remember what happened to Porto the previous round and that’s why we have to come out strong from the start,” Marc Bartra added.

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Source: Sport, Mundo Deportivo