FC Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has said that he wants all three points from a game against APOEL to have any chance of topping their Champions League group.
FC Barcelona have already qualified for the next round of Champions League but they are one point behind group leaders PSG and Luis Enrique has called upon his players to give their best and secure all three points. The coach believes that APOEL will be playing with a tight defence and it is going to prove very difficult for his strikers to find the gaps.
Speaking in a press conference ahead of Tuesday’s game, Luis Enrique said that: “I’m expecting something similar to when we met them at Camp Nou – a match in which spaces will be difficult to find and that always causes problems. We need to take all three points to end as top of our group. APOEL stand in the way of us doing that and the first hurdle before we face a similar task of having to beat PSG.”
FC Barcelona looked under crisis when they lost to Real Madrid and Celta Vigo in La Liga last month but coach Luis Enrique said that they are over from it now. “Unfortunately, you are always going to going through tough moments. It would be great if that wasn’t the case but you’d have to be very foolish to think that those complicated times will never return.”
The front three of FC Barcelona, Leo Messi, Suarez and Neymar, are forming a great understanding amongst themselves and Luis Enrique said that he is happy with the performance of his attackers. “Bearing in mind that Neymar and Messi have been playing together for a while now and Suárez already had the associative skills he’d acquired at Ajax and Liverpool, I’m not really that surprised by what we are seeing. And let’s not forget about Pedro, Munir, Sandro… all of them.”
Meanwhile, FC Barcelona striker Leo Messi is on a cusp of a Champions League goalscoring record and midfielder Ivan Rakitic was a full of praise for the attacker in his press conference. Rakitic said: “There aren’t enough words to describe the kind of player Messi is. Messi is pure football. What he has achieved is sporting history. Playing alongside Messi makes me feel incredibly proud. All I can do is congratulate him for what he has done and what he will go on to do. I just hope I can continue playing with him and watch him score another 200 goals.”
Ivan Rakitic also said that APOEL are a quality side and they have the ability to give FC Barcelona a nightmare. “I know a little about the club and their history. I played against them here when I was at Schalke. They’re a very well-organised side and so we know what kind of game we’re in for. I’ve got quite a few friends playing in the Cypriot league and APOEL are a side who pressure their opponents so we know it’s going to be complicated for us.”