Luis Enrique: Madrid defeat hurt but Barcelona are still top
Madrid ( Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO) – Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has admitted that last weekend’s Clasico loss at Real Madrid hurt – but pointed out that Barcelona remain top of La Liga.
The Catalans took the lead through Neymar after just four minutes of play at the Santiago Bernabeu but ultimately slumped to a 3-1 defeat.
The setback not only allowed Madrid to draw to within a point of Barca, it also saw Sevilla move level on points with the Blaugrana at the summit of the standings.
However, Luis Enrique sees no reason for doom and gloom, revealing that the players have responded well to their first Liga loss of the season.
“The team has trained hard this week, with the same intensity as they would any other,” the former Spain international told reporters on Friday.
“Defeats hurt – there’s no question about that – but over the course of a season you’re going to have to deal with all kinds of situations.
“It’s not until the end of the season that you can really say whether a team deserves one thing or another.
“But, all things considered, we’re top of the league at the moment.”
Luis Enrique was speaking ahead of Saturday’s clash with Celta, whom he left at the end of last season to take charge of Barca.
“There’s no doubt that this is a very special match for me because I know all the players,” he confessed.
“I have very fond memories of Celta. It’s a small club with big values.”
Indeed, Luis Enrique is not expecting an easy ride against his old side, who currently sit sixth in La Liga, having lost just one of their opening nine fixtures under new coach Eduardo Berrizo.
“They’re a very dangerous and effective team,” the former midfield ace mused. “They don’t speculate. They try to hold onto the ball and create a lot of pressure.
“I’m delighted that they’re having such a good season. They’re showing that both in their football and their results.
“They are very good at playing as a unit and are solid in defence.
“They fight back every time they lose the ball, and that’s what makes them so dangerous.
“It’s going to be difficult match but the objective is the same as ever: to play well and win.”
Luis Suarez made his Barca debut in last weekend’s Clasico, following the expiration of his four-month ban for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup.
Speculation is rife that the Uruguay international is now set to make his first start at Camp Nou but Luis Enrique was reluctant to be drawn on the issue.
“He’s training very well and at a good rate” he said of Suarez. “We’ll now be getting the chance to see him playing in matches, and that’s when you can really judge him as a player.”For more news and stories, join us on Facebook,Twitter , or contact us through our Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com