Luis Enrique on his way to the press conference in Cyprus / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

[[DES_1]]In the press conference prior to the Champions League clash in Cyprus against Apoel Nicosia, Barça coach Luis Enrique explained just what kind of game he was expecting: “We are expecting a game similar to the first match, we will try to take the initiative. I expect them to use a defensive set up very like that first clash with little space and that always causes problems.”

The former blaugrana player was clear on Apoel’s biggest strength. “Their greatest virtue is that they concede very few goals. They know what they are doing defensively and it is difficult to create chances,” he added.

Overcoming difficult moments

The home side are chasing third place in the group whilst the visitors are after top spot in the group. Luis Enrique admitted he would prefer to “play the return leg in the next round at home.” He went on: “We need the points to finish first once we have achieved our main objective. Apoel is the challenge we have to overcome and after that we will look at what is happening in the other game in the group.”

Apoel is our first concern, then we will think about what happens in the other game in the group

The big win over Sevilla in their most recent match has given the side confidence once more. The blaugrana coach was clear: “Big clubs always have tough moments and overcoming them is part of a season’s success.”

‘I feel bad for Vermaelen’

One player who is not having a great time at the moment is Thomas Vermaelen. Of the Belgian, Luis Enrique had this to say: “It’s a difficult subject when injuries keep coming back. I feel bad because he would be a great help to us. From the inside we have to give the support to recover soon.” Asked about Xavi’s contribution, the coach responded: “He is unique and a one off due to his qualities and his performances. He is our captain and a basic piece for us when he plays and when he doesn’t.”

Luis Enrique expects similar APOEL to first game by fcbarcelona
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