INIESTA HOPING FOR LUIS ENRIQUE STAY AT BARCELONA
The Blaugrana coach is out of contract at the end of the current season, but the midfielder insists the players remain fully behind him
Andres Iniesta insists Luis Enrique enjoys unequivocal backing from Barcelona’s squad and hopes the head coach stays in charge at Camp Nou.
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Luis Enrique is still to commit to Barca beyond the end of the current campaign, and the 4-0 Champions League humiliation at Paris Saint-Germain earlier this month brought him under increased scrutiny.
A laboured 2-1 win over Leganes did little to lift the gloom, but a victory by the same scoreline – and again courtesy of a late Lionel Messi winner – at Atletico Madrid on Sunday briefly returned the defending champions to the top of La Liga before Real Madrid’s 3-2 comeback triumph at Villarreal in the late game.
Iniesta was part of the Barca XI that switched to an unfamiliar take on 3-4-3 at the Vicente Calderon, but maintains Luis Enrique still has the dressing room behind him.
“We are a thousand for a thousand with the coach. I do not know if he will continue, but I hope he has the desire to continue with this team to continue conquering titles like he has so far,” said the Spain great, who has helped Barcelona to eight honours including the 2014-15 Champions League and back-to-back domestic doubles during Luis Enrique’s time in charge.
“Atletico was a difficult match, very difficult. Atletico take matches to the limit to win. For us it was important to win.”
Barca are a point behind Madrid having played a game more than their bitter rivals, although their hopes of European glory appear to be all but over.
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No side has come back from a first-leg deficit of four goals to progress in Champions League history, but Iniesta feels Barcelona must do all they can to make life difficult for a PSG team who were in rampant form when the sides met in the French capital.
“The PSG tie is complicated, but we have to believe,” he added.
“Despite it being a very big difference, there are opportunities for us to enter the tie.”