FC Barcelona boss Luis Enrique admitted that his side are not unbeatable ahead of the Catalans’ Champions League quarter-final first-leg tie against Atletico, but insisted that the El Clasico defeat would serve as a source of motivation.
The Catalans lost for the first time in 39 matches against arch rivals Real Madrid last weekend, with the Messi-Suarez-Neymar trio failing to impress. However, Enrique is set to field the same starting eleven against Atletico Madrid as he looks to get his team back to winning ways.
“They aren’t machines, they are the best players in their position but they aren’t unbeatable or unsurpassable,” Enrique was quoted as saying in the Guardian. “I think all my players are in perfect condition. We had forgotten what it was like to lose but when you do you remember how difficult it is to win and we all hope the defeat serves as a stimulus to win again.”
Torres to start up top for Atletico
Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid managed to go to within six points of table toppers Barcelona with an emphatic 5-1 win over Real Betis on Saturday. Simeone will be looking for Atletico to carry their momentum forward and get a good result at the Nou Camp on Tuesday.
To that end, Simeone has devised the ploy of playing former Liverpool and Chelsea striker Fernando Torres up front against the Champions League holders. In fact, Simeone substituted Torres during the last 30 minutes of the Real Betis game in order to have him fully rested for the Barcelona match.
“I spoke to him before the game and that’s why he only played 60 minutes — he will play on Tuesday against Barcelona,” Simeone was quoted as saying by ESPN. “We’re going there feeling very strong and our aim is to play well over there. It’s all about coming back from the Nou Camp with the game still alive so we can try and win the tie at our place.”
Torres to haunt Barcelona?
Although Fernando Torres has scored just six goals so far this season, the 32-year-old has an excellent record when he plays against Barcelona.
During his time at Chelsea, he famously scored the goal that made the Blues’s progression to the finals of the Champions League safe, after they had to park the bus against a rampant Blaugrana side coached by Pep Guardiola.
Last year, Torres entered the history books by becoming the player to score the fastest goal against Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the Copa Del Rey in 40 years. The only player to have scored a goal faster than the 32-year-old at the Camp Nou against Barcelona is Real Oviedo’s Marianin, who put the ball into the net after just 20 seconds.