- Title: Barca needs to play a good match to overcome Real Madrid, coach Luis Enrique says
- Date: 2nd December 2016
- Summary: BARCELONA, SPAIN (DECEMBER 02, 2016) (REUTERS) PLAYERS TRAINING
- Embargoed: 17th December 2016 13:45
- Keywords: Soccer Barca Real Clasico Luis Enrique
- Location: BARCELONA, SPAIN
- City: BARCELONA, SPAIN
- Country: Spain
- Reuters ID: LVA0035B6Z4N3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Barca have to play at their best if they want to overcome Real Madrid in Saturday´s Clasico, Luis Enrique said on Friday (December 02).
The coach said his side will be boosted by their crowd as the Catalans face their arch-rival Real in the much-anticipated league show.
"The individual quality they have is out of question. They have world class, top, players. It is a special match for us because we face our arch-rivals in the Camp Nou. That is an incentive to play a good match because we are going to need that level to overcome a rival of such quality," he said in a news conference previewing the match.
Luis Enrique holds the longest unbeaten run in Spanish history, set earlier this year when Barcelona went 39 games without defeat.
But the coach has faced plenty of questioning despite amassing silverware with Barca.
The Catalans have won nine out of 11 competitions entered under his guidance, but a lot of the credit for those triumphs has not gone to the coach but to the front three of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez who scored 131 goals last season and 122 in their first campaign together.
As the magic of the trio has faded this season, with Barca registering their worst points total at the same stage of the season since 2004, there has been a clamour in the Catalan media for a change in the team's style of play in order to exert greater control in midfield.
The threat of Real marching nine points clear at the top of La Liga could raise questions on how Luis Enrique is managing the squad this season but he said the result will not be decisive in the title race.
"We know that they have the possibility, in case Real Madrid wins, to open an interesting gap in the table. But by no means I consider, regardless of the result, that it would be decisive."
"It would be too naive to think that if we win the Clasico critics would stop," he added.
Barcelona are boosted by the return of captain Andres Iniesta after six weeks out with a knee injury.
"It is great news. Not only because of Andres Iniesta himself as a person and footballer but because of everything he represents for the team and the fact that our captain is back," Luis Enrique said.
Barca have drawn three of their last four games in all competitions, failing to beat Malaga and Real Sociedad in their last league outings.
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