Monday, June 14, 2021

Barcelona lucky to draw against Sociedad, Luis Enrique says


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Barcelona’s coach Luis Enrique shouts instructions to players during the Spanish league football match Real Sociedad vs FC Barcelona at the Anoeta stadium in San Sebastian, on November 27, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / ANDER GILLENEA

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique lamented what he described as the worst display of his time in charge as the Catalan giants escaped with a 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Barca have now failed to win in their last eight visits to San Sebastian, but for once the slip-up felt like a victory as Sociedad dominated from start to finish.

“The draw is positive because we take a point from a match in which it was practically impossible to take a point,” Enrique told BeIN Sports Spain

“Real Sociedad were infinitely better than us with and without the ball. They won all the battles.

“It is almost a miracle that we took a point.”

Barca avoided defeat at Anoeta for the first time in five seasons, but fall six points adrift of La Liga leaders Real Madrid ahead of their meeting in El Clasico next weekend.

“As almost always happens here Real got the better of us and if someone was watching the game without seeing the colour of the shirts they would think the other team was Barca,” added Enrique.

Barca failed to muster a shot on target in the first-half and didn’t even make it into the Sociedad area until the 41st minute.

However, it took 53 minutes for Sociedad to go ahead when a hobbling Gerard Pique, playing with a heavily strapped ankle, failed to clear Willian Jose’s weak header off the line.

Yet, just six minutes later, in Barca’s only move of real quality in the 90 minutes, Neymar sprinted clear on the left and his cross was buried into the bottom corner by Lionel Messi.

“Playing like this it will be very difficult to win the league,” said Pique.

However, Enrique insisted Barca’s league challenge is far from over with just 13 games played and two meetings with Madrid to come.

“That performance has happened I think once in my time at Barca,” added the man who has steered Barca to back-to-back La Liga titles.

“It is the first time I have the seen the team clearly inferior to the opponents.

“The positive thing is we will fight for this league until the end and we have to improve on this display without doubt because it is impossible to play worse.”

Barca should at least be able to count on Pique for the Clasico with the Spanish international confident he can’t shrug off the ankle injury first picked up in a 0-0 stalemate with Malaga last weekend.

“I think so,” he replied when asked if he will be fit to start.

“In the first-half I felt the ankle again, but hopefully I will be ok for Saturday.”

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