Luis Enrique, Barcelona boss has affirmed the club’s faith in their Argentine star, Lionel Messi. He insists that their reliance on ‘the best player in the world” is normal.
The five-time World Player of the Year saved Barca’s La Liga title challenge as Messi was once again the scourge of Atletico Madrid with an 86th-minute winner.
Messi has been loyal to Barca and had not shown any sign that he wants to leave the club. Messi has just over a year with the club and there are ongoing talks over renewing his contract.
“Hopefully we can depend on him for many years to come.” Enrique said. There has been pressure on the coach since the terrible loss at Paris Saint-Germain two weeks ago which eventually walked Barca out of the Champions League for the first time in 10 years. The recent wins somewhat eased the pressure.
Still, Enrique got criticised for the change in tactics that was used in order to flatter his forwards, Messi, Neymar and Suarez. Enrique defends his intentions, “The key to having possession is not just to have it for the sake of it, but to have possession as a means of reaching a goal, and the goal is winning games,” he added.
“If the opponent sits back and allows long passages of play in possession they don’t leave you spaces to find gaps.
“If they decide to press high and leave space then it doesn’t make sense to not take advantage of that and in two touches overcome the press to score a goal.”
The Barcelona’s boss is hopeful to have Javier Mascherano and Arda Turan back from injury for the visit of struggling Sporting, who sit two points off safety in 18th. The team looks forward to tougher tests against Celta Vigo and the return leg with PSG to come in the next week.