Friday, March 23, 2018

Luis Enrique unconcerned about playing after Real and Atletico

SoccerNews in La Liga 29 Apr 2016


Luis Enrique says the fact Barcelona have to play after title rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid again this weekend is of no concern.

La Liga leaders Barca could find themselves as low as third by the time they kick off at Real Betis on Saturday, with both Madrid clubs in action earlier in the day.

The reigning champions faced the same issue last week, when Real and Atletico won before they hosted Sporting Gijon.

Luis Enrique’s side, who sit above Atletico on goal difference and one point clear of Real, showed no signs of feeling the pressure against Gijon, though, running out 6-0 winners thanks in the main to Luis Suarez’s four-goal haul.

And the coach insisted La Liga’s scheduling does not change the way his team will approach their trip to Estadio Benito Villamarin.

“Sometimes we’ve had to play before and win and that creates pressure on them and vice-versa – all we can do is go out and win our games,” he said.

“There’s a special tension coming onto the last games of the season and the eventual winners will have shown great strength to deal with that pressure.

“I’m not focusing any energy on the games of Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid. I’m only thinking about Betis.

“Every game is difficult [but] things depend on us because we’re top.”

Barca’s elimination at the hands of Atletico in the Champions League quarter-finals means they have enjoyed a rare break without a midweek fixture following the rout of Gijon.

And, with both Madrid clubs having played Champions League semi-final first legs this week, Luis Enrique feels that could benefit Barca.

“It’s nice to play every three days because of what that signifies, but it’s been good to have some rest,” he added.

“We have the objective of going to Seville and beating Betis, but we face a difficult task.

“Juan Merino [who took over from Pepe Mel at Betis in January] has turned the club around well, getting the players up front playing well. 

“They’re good down the wings, and Ruben Castro can score goals. They don’t try to complicate things too much, they use the ball to good effect. 

“Always the fans are behind them and that can have an influence on the score. But it’s up to us to make sure it doesn’t.”


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