Luis Enrique insists he has no concern about Barcelona’s poor penalty record despite another miss in Wednesday’s win over Sporting Gijon.
Luis Suarez saw his effort saved by Ivan Cuellar after Lionel Messi had passed up the chance to complete his hat-trick from the spot, though Barca went on to win 3-1 after Suarez later found the net.
Messi’s decision to pass his spot-kick to Suarez against Celta Vigo has stolen headlines in recent days but Barca’s record from 12 yards this season has largely been poor, with Suarez’s effort the sixth penalty missed in the top flight by the champions in 2015-16.
Yet Luis Enrique, whose side have won seven games in a row in La Liga and now lead the standings by six points, is not worried.
“We want to improve in this aspect, but the ones missing are those who take responsibility to shoot and I have zero concerns,” he said. “We have three great specialists.
“Suarez makes us relax and he calmed Sporting and their fans. After the penalty, everything was out of our control. He secured the game.”
Messi surpassed the 300-goal mark with his double at El Molinon and Luis Enrique was delighted with the way his side coped against Abelardo’s spirited outfit as the league season enters its final third.
“To be able to count on Messi is a privilege,” he said. “We overcame a team who knows how to defend well, we dominated a team who sat back well and counter-attacked. We played a very complete game.
“I’m optimistic in any situation that we’re given, but that doesn’t mean anything. It’s very difficult to get points as the final rounds approach. We depend on ourselves.”
Luis Enrique made his debut as a player for Sporting in 1989 and he admitted he enjoyed another chance to return to Asturias.
“I’m not very sentimental,” he added. “I come here often. I saw friends who haven’t been here for a long time. It was nice.”