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Luis Enrique is especially concerned about Atlético's strength at set pieces / PHOTO: FCB Archive

On Tuesday, the day before Barça travel to the Vicente Calderón to defend their 1-0 lead in the second leg of their Spanish Cup quarter-final, Luis Enrique described his impressions to the press, underlining the fact that he expects to face “a very powerful version of Atlético Madrid.”

On the rivalry: "I remember the Champions League games between Barça and Atlético. They will be much stronger in their own stadium, with their own fans behind them. I just hope that the game respects the codes of sportsmanship and fair play, and I’m sure it will.”

On the 1-0 lead from the Camp Nou: “Thinking you’re the favourite is the first step towards defeat. We know how difficult this game will be and have no plans to speculate about the result. We are going there to win. It would be a mistake to think there’s a clear favourite.”

On Atlético’s intense early pressure: “That’s one the characteristics about their team, and this time it’ll be even sharper. We expect the game to get off to an intense start … If we can score first then that will condition the way they play much more. That’s one of the benefits of not having conceded any goals at home.”

On Atlético and set pieces: “We know how strong they in dead ball situations. We need to try to control that aspect of the game but it’s not always easy to stop your opponent from getting dangerous free kicks or corners.”

On Jérémy Mathieu and Ivan Rakitic: “Mathieu is training with the first team even though he’s not been given medical clearance to play. He’ll be back soon … As for Rakitic, the rumours that he is injured are false. He has often wrapped a bandage round his knee, he did at Sevilla too. It’s nothing new and he’s perfectly fit.”


Luis Enrique expecting Atlético to be at their... by fcbarcelona

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