Barcelona’s El Clasico clash against Real Madrid tomorrow is a must-win fixture with the Blaugrana looking to keep pace with the league leaders having fallen behind by six points, and coach Luis Enrique is in defiant mood amid much criticism.
Indeed, their latest setback — a 1-1 draw against Real Sociedad — left a particularly sour taste in their mouths.
For the Catalan club, the only positive to come from the result was the single point.
The rest, though, makes for difficult reading as the Catalans once again lacked intensity, discipline and cohesiveness in a match where they were forced to reshuffle their pack due to injuries.
As such, the upcoming Clasico will undoubtedly have massive repercussions on how LaLiga eventually pans out and Barcelona will see the derby as a golden opportunity to make amends for their inconsistent performances throughout the first half of the season.
Judging by his tone in the previous press conference, Luis Enrique is desperate to rebuff the questions aimed at his players nad himself, noting how his side managed to dig themselves out of their grave following a 1-0 loss at Estadio Anoeta in January 2015 to eventually claim the treble.
“Those who criticised me a lot then got on the bandwagon and said that everything was wonderful. We are in the same situation.
In LaLiga, we have a very tough rival and we have not been performing regularly. But I do not care if they kill us. There is a lot left and we will definitely fight back,” he said.
“I would not exaggerate the situation. Look at how you exaggerated the situation in my first year and then we won the treble!”
With the coach insisting that he has not changed the formula that has brought them so much success, the Asturian is also dismissive of those targeting his lack of a Plan-B in recent weeks.
“Our philosophy is to attack opponents by having a higher possession of the ball. This remains the same as that which led us to win eight out of a possible ten titles.”