Luis Enrique is in no doubt about the challenge facing his side in the Copa del Rey semi-final against Atlético Madrid which kicks off on Wednesday at 9.00pm CET with the first leg in the Vicente Calderón. “Atlético compete marvelously and they leave you little space when they defend. We know they put you under pressure and try to win the ball back close to your own goal,” reflected the Barça coach before describing Diego Simeone’s outfit as “one of the best teams that there is in Europe.”

The Asturian revealed some insight into the squad’s preparations for the away leg in Madrid on Wednesday. “The last two games at Camp Nou and the game in the Calderón in the Champions League last season, we have used as reference points for a video to show the players,” said Luis Enrique.

The Barça boss highlighted the way French defender Samuel Umtiti has settled into the team on and off the field thanks to his “tactical and physical attributes.” He continued by praising Argentinian Javier Mascherano: “Having him in the side is always positive and that’s why he plays so many games.”

Luis Enrique will still be without Iniesta and Sergio Busquets due to injury: “It’s a season when we have had obstacles to overcome but rotations are necessary to be able to compete on all fronts,” concluded the coach in front of reporters at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper. 

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