Luis Enrique is anticipating another tough test from Sevilla in the second leg of the Supercopa de Espana but feels his Barcelona team is in excellent shape for the start of the new season.
Barca emerged from the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan with a 2-0 win on Sunday, thanks to second-half goals from Luis Suarez and substitute Munir El Haddadi.
Sevilla made most of the running during a first-half when Barcelona lost captain Andres Iniesta and defender Jeremy Mathieu to respective knee and hamstring injuries – both men will miss Wednesday’s return at the Camp Nou – but Luis Enrique was impressed by how they stood firm.
“The main goal is being better than Sevilla,” he told a pre-match news conference. “The players are aware we are 90 minutes from the first title of the season. We will try to hit Sevilla before than they can do it.
“We have good feelings. They were the home side in Sunday’s game and we barely suffered goal chances. It means we defended at a good level.
“I expect the same Sevilla, the same idea. That’s a common thing in every great team; that they don’t change their philosophy no matter where they play.”
Three-time reigning Europa League holders Sevilla made good on coach Jorge Sampaoli’s pledge to take the game to Barcelona at the weekend, leaving the LaLiga champions in the unfamiliar position of sharing possession almost 50/50 with their opponents.
Luis Enrique acknowledged his side were forced to adapt accordingly.
“For us, possession is essential in 95 per cent of games. But if a team comes at us and brings their defensive line forward, then we find other solutions,” he explained.
“In most games, we want to impose our style, but sometimes, hey, I don’t care about it at all. We just have to get the result.
“I have blind faith in my players. I’ve had two great squads but I have a really good vibe about this team. That doesn’t mean we’re going to win more trophies – we could win less. That’s the fine line in football.”
The game will kick-off at 11pm local time, potentially leaving thousands of fans who normally rely on post-match public transport stranded, but Luis Enrique is urging some of Barca’s more sedentary supporters to see the positives.
“You know what I think about kick-off times. I think the time is because of the Champions League [play-off round coverage on television],” he added.
“I hope plenty of people come to Camp Nou. With our fans, we’re always more complete.
“But it’s a healthy time of year. If they come on the metro, then they walk home, can celebrate and lose some calories, hey, that’s great.”
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