Luis Enrique got the three points he wanted at the Amsterdam Arena / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

Naturally enough, Luis Enrique was all smiles after his side defeated Ajax 2-0 to ensure passage to the last sixteen of Europe’s premier club competition. "It is important to have qualified with two games in hand” he told his press conference. “I’d like to stress the way the players behaved. I have no complaints about their attitude tonight.”

The first half didn’t see Barça getting too many chances, but they did get the only goal.  And the man who scored it, Leo Messi was described by his coach as “the best player I have ever seen. Without a shadow of a doubt.”

Nothing happened in the first half that can’t happen in a football match

“Nothing happened in the first half that can’t happen in a football match” he continued. “We usually dominate in attack, but that wasn’t the case tonight. But we combined better in the second half and were able to recover the ball as far away from our own goals as we could. That’s what we’d been trying do from the start, but things don’t always work out.”

This was the first time that Messi, Neymar and Luis Suárez had played together in Europe. "We have so many different possibilities in attack” said Luis Enrique. “We know that Neymar and Luis can play in different positions, and their responsibilities change depending on whether we have the ball or not. I like the fact that we’ve got alternatives, that we’ve got variants. We have some very high quality players.”

We know that Neymar and Luis can play in different positions

Although Barça are now guaranteed a place in the second round, the Asturian knows that it’s important not to relax, because being one of the eight seeds makes a huge difference in this competition. Moreover, "the win qualifies us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still be self-critical. There are still things we could be doing better. My players know that I’ll always demand nothing but the best from them.”

Luis Enrique: "It is important to have... by fcbarcelona
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