Apr 23, 2015

    Barca's treble hopes hinge on dictating play: Enrique


    BARCELONA'S ability to continue dictating play by pushing high up the pitch will determine if they can win a treble, coach Luis Enrique said after they reached the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday.

    Barca made a slow start to the campaign under their new coach but, after beating Paris Saint Germain (PSG) in the quarter-finals, they are on course to repeat the treble success of 2009 achieved in Pep Guardiola's first year at the helm.

    In the first half against the French side, whom they beat 2-0 on the night and 5-1 on aggregate, Barcelona matched some of the best football of Guardiola's era, when they won three La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies.

    "Everything depends on us being able to defend and pressure in the opposition half and for that, you need the players to deliver and they are not machines," Enrique said at a news conference.

    "This is crucial to our style of play. You can see it each week where the team not only has a great attacking threat, but you can also have confidence in them in all areas of the pitch. In order to be where we want to be, then you need everyone to deliver."

    Enrique's style of play is more direct than Guardiola's approach - which was based on possession football - but it works well using the club's forwards with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez all looking to run on to balls and create openings.

    A majestic run by Andres Iniesta from his own half saw him set up Neymar for the opener against PSG, before the Brazilian headed in Dani Alves' cross with just over half an hour played.

    "Hopefully the best is still to come for this team. The players have been working since the pre-season to win trophies," said Enrique. "There is still some way to go as the league will not be easy, with other teams also fighting to win it.

    "In the Champions League there are three other strong sides, and in the King's Cup we face an opponent (Athletic Bilbao) that always causes us problems.

    "Our objective is to be among the best in Europe. Considering the quality of the players, the work they have put in this season and that it has been a year of change, then it would not be logical to be satisfied with what we have so far."