Barcelona boss Luis Enrique believes there isn’t another player in world football who can adequately replace what injured captain Andres Iniesta brings the Catalan giants.
However, as Barca go in search of a fourth straight win at Eibar on Sunday night, Enrique is hopeful the Spanish champions are finally beginning to find the form that will help them chase down Real Madrid at the top of La Liga.
“There is no one, not in the squad or in world football (like Iniesta),” Enrique said on Saturday.
“That is the problem. I have many very good players, but none of them are like Iniesta.
Iniesta will miss the trip to the Basque country after coming off at half-time in Barca’s 1-0 Copa del Rey quarter-final, first leg win at Real Sociedad on Thursday due to a calf problem.
However, the club remain hopeful he will return in time for the second leg against Sociedad on Thursday.
A first victory in San Sebastian for 10 years in midweek rounded off a good week for Barca as they cut the gap on Real Madrid to two points in La Liga, although Real also have a game in hand.
Barca can match their longest winning streak this season with another victory at Ipurua, but Enrique is looking for a much longer sustained run to topple Madrid as the first half of the Liga season comes to a close this weekend.
“We have been looking for a long run of positive results since the start of the season, but it still hasn’t arrived.
“Hopefully, this is it, hopefully this can be the run where we put together a long streak of wins. We need it, above all, to put pressure on those above us.”