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Luis Enrique said it would be an intense game and he was right. / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Having just taken his seat at the podium following FC Barcelona’s come-from-behind, 2–1 victory over Atlético Madrid in Tuesday’s first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals at Camp Nou, blaugrana manager Luis Enrique, aware that his team had just dodged a bullet, took a deep breath and exhaled.

He sat pensively as the first meandering question materialised, looking for the head coach’s analytical overview of the match.

“First, let me just say we have to look at the fact we were playing against Atlético Madrid,” he said, in deference to their well-known ability to wreak havoc. “They’re a very well organised team from a defensive standpoint.”

Once through extolling the prime virtue of Cholo Simeone’s squad, the Barça manager veered towards a more in-depth breakdown of the riveting encounter.

“Our only defensive error allowed them to score a goal and made it even more complicated,” he said.

Nevertheless, he admitted, “We were much better than them from a collective standpoint. We were much better positioned too. “

Prior to the match, at Monday’s press conference, he made a clarion call to Barça’s fan base to show up en masse to cheer his team to victory. “I haven’t seen Camp Nou like that in a long time,” he said.

Here are the highlights of what he had to say:

On the final score:

“It’s a shame we couldn’t score one more goal.”

On next week’s return leg:

“We have room for improvement and the match at the Calderón will be a nice one.”

“We enjoy challenges. It will be a special game.”

“We have to win at the Calderón. If there’s any team that can do it, it’s us.”

“[But] the game we’re interested in now is the one against Real Sociedad [in La Liga].”

On how his players responded to the early deficit:

“I saw the players with passion, but they also used their heads and were under control."


Luis Enrique: “We are looking forward to... por fcbarcelona
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