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On Thursday in the Copa del Rey visit to Real Sociedad, Luis Enrique is clear that he does not want a repeat of his side’s performance in the 1-1 draw in the league at Anoeta in late November when, according to the blaugrana boss, their Cup rivals “deserved to win.” 

In his traditional pre-game press conference at the Ciutat Esportiva, Luis Enrique continued: “Against Real [Sociedad] we have had games in which they have been the better side, we want to change that image.

“We always go into matches with the objective of winning, be better than our opponents and create more over 90 minutes, regardless of whether there is a second leg.”

Real Sociedad are currently in fifth place in the league and under former Barça player Eusebio they have impressed many observers with their attractive brand of football, not least Luis Enrique himself.

“They are dangerous if you let them play, they get into the box, they have finishers and they can counter well. Eusebio is doing a great job and they are going to make it difficult for us,” warned the Asturian.

The Barça coach went on to describe the two legged tie against the side known as the txuri-urdin as “a great challenge, one that measures up to a Copa del Rey quarter-final. Winning will be a great step forward for the second leg, but not definitive. It will a very close tie.”

The coach named his squad for the trip to Anoeta following Wednesday’s training session. As ever, players were omitted from the list, in this instance, Ter Stegen, Aleix Vidal and Mathieu. “A coach’s job is taking decisions and I have to leave some players at home, I can only take 18,” confessed the manager.

In conclusion, Luis Enrique had words for his friend and former team-mate Abelardo, who has just left his post as Sporting Gijón boss: “What he has done with Sporting in the last two years is worthy of great credit, it will be valued in the fullness of time.” 

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