Luis Enrique urges Barcelona players to move on quickly

Luis Enrique claims their defeat to Real Madrid has already been consigned to history.

Andy West
by Andy West
4th April 2016

article:4th April 2016

Concerns: Luis Enrique.
Concerns: Luis Enrique.

Luis Enrique claims their defeat to Real Madrid has already been consigned to history.

The league leaders saw their 39-game unbeaten run come to an end at the Nou Camp, with Gerard Pique’s opener cancelled out by strikes from Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo as Barca lost their way in the final stages.

But Enrique was determined to focus on the positives, with his team six points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid in La Liga and through to the Copa del Rey final as well as the Champions League last eight.

And with Tuesday’s first leg of the European quarter-final against Atletico fast approaching, Enrique was clearly anxious to avoid one defeat being converted into a crisis as the season reaches its decisive stages.

“This game already no longer exists for us,” he said. “There is no pain or anything like that. We been through a lot of games without losing, but defeat also teaches you things. What happened against Madrid can happen in any game – there are two teams. It’s unfortunate to lose a game at home but you don’t choose when you lose.

“We managed the game well for a large part of it, but Madrid closed ranks in the second half to find counter attacks and their first goal unsettled us.”

However, Enrique did partially accept that his decision to replace Ivan Rakitic, who had delivered a good performance, with the ineffective Arda Turan was a mistake.

“Ivan had a yellow card and that is a risk,” he explained. “Arda could give us more between the lines, getting into the area, but he came on at a time when the game went crazy and we committed several errors.”

Barca looked worryingly low in energy in the final stages of the contest despite playing the final few minutes against ten men following Sergio Ramos’s dismissal.

But Enrique denied his players are suffering from fatigue, adding: “I don’t like to look for excuses. Sometimes you have to play in these circumstances, with travel around the world, because we have the best players in the world.”