Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said the only team he would fear in the Champions League is his own after watching the holders storm through to the quarter-finals at Arsenal’s expense.
Despite nursing a 2-0 deficit from the first leg, the Premier League side played a full part in a pulsating Camp Nou contest, although Neymar and Lionel Messi goals either side of Luis Suarez’s show-stopping 65th-minute volley gave Barca a 3-1 victory on Wednesday.
It means Luis Enrique’s men are alongside Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, Wolfsburg and Benfica in Friday’s draw and there appears nothing much to intimidate a team unbeaten in 38 matches.
“The only team I would not like to get is Barca,” Luis Enrique quipped at his post-match news conference.
“Obviously we have unique players but in the end the great thing about this team is they work collectively – in both attack and defence.
“We are delighted that Messi, Suarez and Neymar are our forwards.
“This tie meant one of the two possible candidates for the title would go out, which is good for us. Now we wait for the draw.”
Arsenal’s exit follows that of Chelsea at the hands of PSG and Manchester United in the group stages, leaving City as the sole representative of the cash rich Premier League – a record that baffles Luis Enrique.
“They are not getting results you might think, for the signings they make,” he said. “It’s something to analyse.”
It is a conundrum former Barca boss Pep Guardiola will get a close look at next season when he replaces Manuel Pellegrini in charge at City, but that assignment could not have been further from his mind on Wednesday.
Guardiola’s Bayern came back from 2-0 down on the night and 4-2 on aggregate to net a stoppage time equaliser through Thomas Muller and defeat Juventus in extra time.
Luis Enrique was pleased to see his former team-mate come through, not allowing himself to reflect on how potentially beneficial a Bayern exit might have been to Barca’s prospects of becoming the first back-to-back winners in the Champions League era.
“I’m very happy for Pep, he deserves this in his last year at Bayern,” he added.
“No matter the scoreline, his teams never give up.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!