BARCELONA (Reuters) – Barcelona will be looking to avenge the reverse they suffered to Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup when they host the Basque side in La Liga on Sunday, coach Luis Enrique said.
Bilbao crushed Barca 4-0 at their San Mames stadium in the first leg of the competition last August and a 1-1 draw in the return at the Nou Camp sealed a 5-1 aggregate victory that denied the Spanish and European champions all six trophies up for grabs in 2015.
Luis Enrique noted that Barca, who have also been drawn to play Bilbao over two legs in the King’s Cup quarter-finals this month, had gone into the first leg with only two days to rest and prepare after needing extra time to see off Sevilla 5-4 in the European Super Cup.
Having already won the Champions League, La Liga and the King’s Cup in 2014-15, Barca went on to claim the Club World Cup in Japan last month.
“The players have (the Spanish Super Cup first leg) in their minds and keep it as a reference like any of the games we have played against Bilbao,” Luis Enrique told a news conference on Saturday.
“When you play against Bilbao you know what you are going to get,” added the former Barca and Spain midfielder.
“They are a very well put together team, very complete with or without the ball, who know what they have to do at every moment of the match and know how to stop our way of playing.
“Athletic were the team that denied us the ‘Sextuple’ and there is a motivation there for us.”
Barca, who have played one game fewer than their main rivals, are second in La Liga at the halfway point of the campaign.
Chasing a sixth Spanish league title in eight years, they are two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid and two ahead of third-placed Real Madrid.
Atletico are playing at Las Palmas on Sunday while Real host Sporting Gijon.
Barca did manage a 1-0 win at Bilbao in their opening La Liga game of the season in August, with Uruguay striker Luis Suarez netting the only goal shortly after halftime.
(Writing by Iain Rogers, editing by Clare Fallon)