Barcelona coach Luis Enrique is relishing the prospect of trying to turn around the Liga champions’ ailing form in Wednesday’s trip to Deportivo La Coruna.
An alarming dip of one point from four Liga matches leaves Barca top only by virtue of a superior head-to-head record over Atletico Madrid, with Real Madrid a point further back.
Sunday’s 2-1 loss at home to Valencia was Barcelona’s third in a row in La Liga. That slump started with defeat in El Clasico to Madrid and, with Atleti having also dumped the European champions out of the Champions League, the capital clubs are understandably scenting blood.
But Luis Enrique, who represented both Madrid and Barca during his playing days, was in a bullish mood at an often terse pre-match news conference, where he credited his upbringing in the northern Spanish city of Gijon with firing his passion for a fight.
“Maybe it’s because I’m from Gijon but I get high on adversity,” he said.
“You might find that strange – some people enjoy winning more; I like these kind of challenges. They motivate me. You can’t imagine how I feel going into tomorrow’s game and how thrilled we will be if we break this run.
“If it doesn’t work out then I will be the first to congratulate who wins the league.
“Of course [I believe Barcelona will retain La Liga]. If I had any doubt about that I wouldn’t be sitting here.
“We’re on a negative run in a sporting sense but I don’t think we need to take things out of their context. We just need to focus on what we can control.”
Barcelona’s recent collapse marks a stark contrast to the run of 39 games unbeaten in all competitions that preceded their Clasico loss, but Luis Enrique remains content with his players’ form.
“There is not one solution, it is the sum of a number of different factors that have accumulated,” he explained.
“Against Valencia it was quite unfair that we lost that game because we were clearly the superior side.
“We were playing all the football, creating all the chances but didn’t manage to turn the result around. I have nothing to criticise my team for, I think they have been doing the right things.”
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