Luis Enrique has stuck by his players through thick and thin. / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

FC Barcelona manager Luis Enrique was clearly happy with the result — a second consecutive rout that gives the impression his team’s late-season slump is yesterday’s news.

“In the first half we lacked speed, we were well-positioned and football at the top level you have to have speed,” he said. “They had a pair of chances to draw level.”

“The second half was different, we had better opportunities and we put the game away. For us it's vital to score a lot of goals,” he added.

When asked for an overview, the manager said: “I'll stick with the positive things. We have one home game left and two away, surely it will be tough on the road but we’ll take advantage of a long week to prepare for the game against Bettis.”

Here are the highlights of what he had to say:

On the trident:

They were lethal close to the goal but they need the whole team to support them, and the whole team deserves it.

On Sergi Roberto being subbed out:

“Sergi Roberto took a knock and at the end of the first half he told us he had to come out.”

On the late season wear and tear:

“The numbers say the team is in good physical condition. These games are tough and I hope this long week helps and we can work on specific areas and other things.”

On Neymar:

“Neymar Jr has a lot of personality, he's a top player. He gives us a big advantage with his technical skill. I will stick with the support from the majority of the fans, who supported his play. We know he'll always be there, but in certain games he will play well or not so well.”

On the team in general:

“We are a team that has to play well to win.

“I'm optimistic because I see my players training hard and we turned around a difficult situation, one that we never imagined."

On the league standings:

“We are in the best position among the three teams in the race for the title but we can't slip up.”

On whether he pays attention to Barça’s rivals:

“I don't watch the games played by our direct rivals, I just assume they will get the three points and I focus on our game.”

On Gerard Piqué being subbed out:

“Piqué has had some discomfort in his hip since a little while ago and I decided to replace him with Bartra because he was the only center-back available.”

On Sporting being near relegation:

“I hope Sporting stay in the first division because they deserve it.”


Luis Enrique: “The win is thanks to the whole... por fcbarcelona