Luis Enrique accepts his Barcelona side will have to be at their best if they are to maintain their 100% start to the new Primera Division season at Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
Barca are one of only four teams to have a perfect record after two games – Atletico, Celta Vigo and Eibar being the other three – but Luis Enrique realises making it three from three will be no easy task.
“It’s going to be a difficult game. An away match versus another title contender is always tough,” the Barcelona coach said at a press conference.
“There is a lot about Atletico that worries me. They don’t allow you any space and have a lot of tactical options. They press you high up the pitch and are very intense. They won the league two years ago and there is a reason for that.
“They have one of the most renowned coaches in the game in Diego Simeone and they’ve done well in the transfer market and signed some strong players.
“But this motivates us. We know that we can win at the Calderon.”
Both sides were without a number of players throughout the week due to the international break, but Luis Enrique does not expect this to affect the outcome of Saturday’s encounter.
“Atletico also had a lot of players who were away on international duty. These games after an international break are always a bit peculiar,” he added.
“But everybody is aware of the situation. Hopefully we can play a good game, because we know it is always difficult at the Calderon.”
A trip to Atletico after the disruption of the internationals is far from ideal but Luis Enrique refused to complain.
“Every coach feels his team has a difficult fixture list. I cannot use that as a justification for anything,” he said.
“We are playing against some very strong opponents over the next few weeks. I won’t say whether that is good or bad, but it sure is attractive.”