FC Barcelona manager Luis Enrique praised the attitude of his players as they staged a late comeback to record a 2-1 win over German side Bayer Leverkusen.
Bayer Leverkusen stunned the Camp Nou faithful in the 22nd minute when their towering centre-back Kyriakos Papadopoulos headed in a Hakan Calhanoglu corner.
Despite having majority of possession throughout the match, Barcelona were unable to penetrate a water tight Leverkusen defence until substitute Sergi Roberto bundled home the equalizer in the 80th minute. It was to get worse for Bayer Leverkusen 2 minutes later as Luis Suarez gave Barcelona the lead after good work in build up by Munir El Haddadi.
Barcelona currently occupy the top spot in their group with 4 points after recording one win and a draw in the opening two matches of the UEFA Champions League.
Enrique Hails Team Resolve Amidst Crowd Impatience
Speaking to the press after the match, Luis Enrique heaped enormous praise on his players for having the necessary resolve in staging a late comeback win over their German opponents.
“This team runs and goes all out every game,” said the Barcelona manager.
“My players deserve a huge amount of credit for turning around a very difficult situation.
“These players have earned that. Things can go better or worse for you, but they always run. The team’s faith was indestructible today.
“That’s football. Sometimes you win with faith, sometimes with heart, and sometimes with great play. It’s clear today it was about faith.”
Speaking about the anxiety of the Camp Nou crowd, Enrique said, “Ia m not going to say anything bad about the fans. We need their support”.
“I understand whistles if they do not run, but these players always do that. We needed more support at 0-1 down, less at 1-1, and at 2-1 it was needed.
“You can hear the whistles plenty down there, on the pitch. We did not deserve those whistles, they can whistle us at the end of the game, but not during it, a bit more confidence would be good for us.”
Enrique Admits Team Missed Messi
The Asturian admitted that his Barcelona side badly missed the creative genius of Lionel Messi in their ranks in the late win over Leverkusen.
Messi was ruled out of action for two months after injuring the ligaments in his knee against Las Palmas last weekend.
“It was a difficult night,” added Enrique added (via ESPNFC).
“The second game without Messi, as he did not play [many minutes] against Las Palmas. We were again missing our best player, someone who everyone knows is irreplaceable, and have won both games.
a FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 29, 2015
Commenting on Andres Iniesta’s 2nd half withdrawal due to injury, Enrique added, “the information about Iniesta saddens us, first for the player himself, and then because this [run of injuries] seems like a joke.”
“It is another handicap for us, but we will show we are competitive. I am very happy for how the team reacted. The situation is not easy.”