Barcelona kept abreast of rivals Real Madrid with a thumping 5-2 win over Rayo Vallecano at the Nou Camp, with Brazilian Neymar bagging four goals in the rout

 

Rayo Vallecano took a shock lead at the Nou Camp with a 15th minute strike from Javi Guerra, but Neymar equalised minutes later from the penalty spot. The Brazilian then gave Barcelona the lead with yet another first-half penalty, before scoring twice in the second half before a Luis SuA?rez goal completed the rout.

Barcelona manger Luis Enrique heaped praises on Neymar after the win, and insisted that he was not bothered by the fact that Rayo Vallecano won the ‘battle of possession’ against the Catalans on Saturday.

Enrique praises ‘electric’ Neymar after the Brazilian’s starring display

With Barcelona missing Lionel Messi and Andr s Iniesta due to injury, Neymar’s form will be a huge positive for Luis Enrique’s men. The Brazil captain had one of his best games for the Blaugrana in the defeat against Sevilla before the international break, and has now built upon that foundation with his four-goal display against Rayo.

Enrique said after the match (via Goal): “Neymar is electric. Defences must either foul him and give away a penalty or he will score goals. Since he has started the season has been great, and today he was decisive.

“In a nutshell, he has been very impressive.”

The Spaniard also insisted that he wasn’t bothered about losing the possession battle, while also stating that his team needed to keep working on their defence. “Ia m not worried about losing possession to teams like Bayern, Celta, or Rayo Vallecano,” Enrique added (via fcbarcelona.com).

“Wea re going to keep working on our defence. To win titles, you have to score more goals and give up less and thata s what wea re working on.”

Messi absence gives Neymar centre stage

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The absence of Messi is clearly not positive news for Barcelona, but it does give Neymar the opportunity to take centre stage, as he does for his country. The Brazilian has shown he is excellent when performing under the weight of expectations at least as far as the national team goes, and he now has the opportunity to replicate that at club level.

So far he has thrived in Messi’s absence — although not necessarily as a consequence of it — and if he continues in this vein of form on a consistent basis, the Blaugrana might just have found the heir to the Argentine’s throne.