Saturday, 7 January 2017

Enrique sure Barcelona will win silverware this season

Luis Enrique remains convinced Barcelona will end the season with silverware despite the Copa del Rey defeat to Athletic Bilbao on Thursday.

The Catalan club have won eight titles in the two-and-a-half years since Luis Enrique was appointed, but their defeat at Athletic has created doubts about adding to that total.

However, despite being left in a precarious position in the cup and trailing Real Madrid by six points in the league, Luis Enrique is optimistic of more success.

“Seeing what happened at San Mames, in terms of the attitude of the players with and without the ball, that’s the line to follow this season,” he said in a news conference on Saturday.

“I saw a lot of positives in terms of everyone’s attitude. If we see Barcelona at that level, I am sure we will win things. The level is good.

“What we saw in the second half at San Mames is what I want to see for the rest of the season, that’s the quality of the team.

“We were really good and the team deserved a lot more. Now, having analysed [the game] again, I can say that with more certainty. Apart from the result, I liked what I saw.”

Barca host Athletic in the return leg at Camp Nou on Wednesday, with a place in the quarterfinal at stake, but before then they face a difficult trip to fourth-placed Villarreal in La Liga.

Luis Enrique’s side threw away a two goal lead at El Madrigal last season and can ill-afford to drop points there again after Madrid beat Granada 5-0 on Saturday to ramp up the pressure on the Blaugrana in the title race.

“We know how good Villarreal are, they’ve shown that throughout the season,” the Barca boss said ahead of Sunday’s match.

“They have a great manager in Fran [Escriba], who has them working hard, and they are capable of creating chances and defending well, too. They’re a dangerous rival for anyone, but we’re going there with the obligation of getting three points.”

Despite suggesting that letting more points slide could prove fatal, Luis Enrique slightly contradicted himself when he then insisted there remains room for more slip-ups as he looks to lead his side to a third successive league title.
“There’s still margin for error, of course.” he said. “There’s no team that wins every game in La Liga.
“We’re not in the position we want to be in and the only way to correct things is to win games. But we’re not going to win all our games — I wish we could.”

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