FC Barcelona suffered a shock defeat against Real Sociedad at Anoeta but coach Luis Enrique has said that he did not wanted to take any risks with the fitness of Leo Messi and has no regrets for benching him.
Jordi Alba scored an own goal in 2nd minute of the match which proved enough for the Real Soeciedad to continue their impressive record against the ‘big three’ of La Liga.
Luis Enrique surprised everybody with his team selection as Latin American trio of Leo Messi, Neymar and Dani Alves were rested for this game.
Pedro, Suarez and Munir formed a three man attack of FC Barcelona but the trio failed to impress as Luis Enrique was forced to bring in Leo Messi and Neymar in the second half but it was too late then and it failed to turn the game around, thus bringing an end to their 11-game unbeaten run.
Speaking after the game, FC Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said that he decided to rest Messi and Neymar because they only had returned to training on 31st December after being granted an extended holiday for Christmas.
“This isn’t the time to regret those decisions,” said Luis Enrique. “I look at the season as a whole and I do what’s best for the team. I thought that it was best not to risk [them].
“[The own goal was] Real Sociedad’s only dangerous chance. We controlled the match, especially in the second half when we got closer to their net.
“We deserved more than that. We were a bit unlucky not to have scored an equaliser. Real Sociedad played a complete match.”
FC Barcelona have constantly struggled against the teams that close the door at back this season and Luis Enrique accepted that it is very difficult to score by breaking such tight defence. “It is difficult to attack a team that is closed, and Real Sociedad shut things up more than normal after they went 1-0 up.”
“I had the feeling it would be difficult when the game began. I only remember the play in which we did well. There were lots of scoring opportunities. The result is not a fair one, I think we deserved more. We have not had much good fortune.”