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Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao: Luis Enrique plots sensational revival

A daunting task faces Barcelona if Luis Enrique’s men are to become the first side in Supercopa de Espana history to overturn a four-goal deficit when they meet Athletic Bilbao on Monday.

Barca were stunned at San Mames on Friday as Aritz Aduriz bagged a hat-trick in Bilbao’s emphatic 4-0 first-leg victory, some questionable defending punished by the hosts.

That setback came at the end of a week when Barca also spurned a three-goal lead against Sevilla before eventually winning the UEFA Super Cup 5-4 after extra time. 

Despite a sluggish start to the season, spirits are high at Camp Nou, with Luis Enrique quick to point out the attacking prowess at his disposal, although Neymar remains unavailable due to mumps. 

“I think we have a team big enough to do this, if we do things well we have every opportunity,” said the Barca head coach. “It would perhaps be somewhat pretentious to say we are going to do it, but we will try to. 

“If we get things right I am sure we can turn things round. 

“There were 18 games last season where we scored four or more goals, that shows we’re capable of doing that, and we will be fresher than the first leg [the UEFA Super Cup was three days before the first leg against Athletic].

“No team has ever come back from 4-0 down in a Supercopa match, that’s the challenge ahead us, we’ll find out if we can do it.

“We can’t afford to make any mistakes, in pre-season we have made a lot of mistakes but we know we are capable of scoring four or more.”

Barca’s confidence is surprisingly shared by Bilbao head coach Ernesto Valverde, the 51-year-old refusing to celebrate their first-leg win too much knowing how ruthless the treble winners can be. 

Bilbao – chasing a second Supercopa de Espana success – have not won at Camp Nou in any competition since November 2001 and Valverde remains wary of facing a wounded Barca at home.

“It’s a shame that the final isn’t a single match as we still have plenty of suffering to do,” he said after Friday’s win.

“We haven’t won anything yet. It may be a historic result, which ourselves and the fans enjoyed, but it’s only the first leg.

“Still, it’s clear that we have a good chance [of winning the trophy], even more so than at the beginning [of the tie].”

Sun 16 Aug, 2015
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1 Comment:

  1. NAPARI THOMAS says:

    Luiz Enrique should stop experimenting with the team and field players to win matches for the team. He has won the treble, but that is not a guarantee for him to toy with the team. Even coaches who did not achieve what he has achieved so far know that FC Barca is not a team to be experimenting with. Fans enjoy Barca wining and not being humiliated like what happened against Sevilla and Bilbao.

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