Luis Enrique admitted that Barça had problems against Apoel Nicosia in Wednesday night’s UEFA Champions League match.
The match ended in a 1-0 win in Barcelona’s favour with a goal from Gerard Piqué in the 28th minute. The Barcelona boss said after the match that his club have to do better and fell short of expectations. The Catalan giants failed to put away numerous chances and it was Piqué header that separated the two sides at the end of 90 minutes.
There were many changes to the side, too. The new manager made no less than 9 changes to the side that beat Athletic Bilbao at the weekend.
But instead of excusing his team’s poor performance, he said after the match:
“We found it hard to make the right choices over the final metres”.
“We have great, quality players but we didn’t get through on goal for a variety of reasons. We weren’t at our best over the final metres. We weren’t moving the ball around fast enough.
“Perhaps our play was less fluid because of all the rotations, but I’m sticking to my guns. I need my whole team, although I’m sure I’ll get it wrong sometimes. We can’t always win 3-0 or 4-0, but I have blind faith in my players.
“We managers worry when things don’t go to plan. These aren’t easy games, Apoel played a serious game.
“We’ll be showing the players what they need to get better. We can’t settle for this, we have to play better. I am sure we can make even better players of the players we have.”
It’s nice to see Luis Enrique sticking up for his players but at the same time, he’ll have to get it right in the return match in Cyprus where the Catalans may come up against a hostile crowd cheering on their local side.
Ex manager Guardiola’s Bayern Munich had trouble on Wednesday night with Manchester City. For me, Bayern just had the edge and it was his team’s persistence which paid off with a late goal for the German side courtesy of ex Manchester City player Jérôme Boateng! It was too late for City to do anything about it and now Pellegrini’s team have it all to do at the Etihad stadium.