The reigning La Liga and European champions Barcelona will welcome Premier League giants Arsenal to the Nou Camp on Wednesday, as they face off in the second leg of the Champions League’s round of 16 stage. The Gunners have made it a habit in recent years of crashing out of the competition at this very stage and at the moment, things don’t seem much different after their 2-0 home defeat at the Emirates.
However, one thing is worth admiring about the manager of the Catalan giants, Luis Enrique, who is not taking this tie lightly and has urged his players as well to take it seriously till the last minute.
In his pre-match press conference, he said, “The scoreboard looks very good, but it will not change our approach nor our preparation. The tie is open and we are still in a dangerous situation, conscious that we have to be serious if we want to go through. This game does not give us time to relax.”
About his approach for the game, he added, “In London, they pressured us up the field and I am convinced that they will do the same here. They are a very direct team and have the capacity to make things difficult for us. They have a very good aerial game, especially with Giroud and Wellbeck, and we will have to be careful if their second line moves forward.”
About Alexis Sánchez’s return to the Camp Nou, he stated, “He is a quality player who is very physical and who has improved a lot. He is very difficult to stop and you have to keep an eye on him.”
About his side’s unbeaten record in the last 37 games, he said, “As of today the results are very good, but everything has to be confirmed. Being where we are brings us closer to our overall objective of winning the same titles as last season, but to do it you have to be humble and have the capacity to improve in those aspects that influence the game.”
“The team knows that no squad is perfect and you can always improve.”
Talking about the absence of Gerrard Pique from the side and it’s impact on the team he concluded, “I have plenty of very good central defenders who have great speed. They are all very good in the aerial game and are very good at bringing the ball up the field. I trust them completely.”