Luis Enrique hopes Wednesday’s rousing Copa del Rey comeback against Athletic Bilbao can inspire a winning run to fire Barcelona back into LaLiga title contention.
Barca trailed 2-1 from a contentious first-leg at San Mames last week and a 1-1 draw at Villarreal on Sunday left them five points shy of Real Madrid at the top-flight summit.
Luis Suarez struck his 100th goal for Barcelona and the 300th netted by the MSN forward combination since they began playing in tandem, and Neymar and Lionel Messi got in on the act either side of a header from Athletic’s Barcelona-born wideman Enric Saborit to seal a decisive 3-1 win.
“I am delighted with the level displayed by my players during this double-confrontation. We were far superior,” Luis Enrique told reporters afterwards.
“We managed the game well, they scored on their only opportunity but my players knew how to be calm to start again”
“The fans responded and supported us when we needed them”
“We must now chain the victories to regain confidence in our game.”
Belief is unlikely to lie too far away for a side with Messi at their disposal.
After arrowing a free-kick into the top left corner to snatch a point against Villarreal, he whipped home a set-piece from a similar position via the bottom of the right-hand post to spark wild celebrations at Camp Nou.
“Leo Messi has been decisive, as usual, and no one has ever been better than him,” Luis Enrique added.
“In all areas of the game, either on a stopped kick or on an action, he feels the game and manages to find the best solution every time. He even makes his team-mates better.”
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