By Tim Hanlon
BARCELONA (Reuters) – The way Barcelona pressure the opposition as a team is the key to their success, coach Luis Enrique said after their 6-1 demolition of AS Roma in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Last season’s treble winners were at their breathtaking best with the fit again Lionel Messi back in the starting lineup and helping them cut open Roma but Luis Enrique focussed on their work rate.
“We go into each game with the knowledge that we need to pressure and the more that you do that then the better you get at it,” he told a press conference after his team secured top place in Group E with a match to spare.
“We found it easy to find space and we had a lot of possession. It is not easy to keep pressuring but this is what we are good at as a group and it is the key.
“Messi has fitted back into the side, I saw Suarez pressuring after 92 minutes, Neymar pressuring and it is the same as we have been playing before. All the team attacking and defending as a line.”
Suarez hit a brace and set up a further two for Messi who began his first game since picking up a knee ligament injury in September and looked hungry to get back among the goals.
There were also goals for Gerard Pique and Adriano while Roma’s only reply was from Edin Dzeko in stoppage time.
Luis Enrique singled out Suarez for praise.
“He looks as though he has been playing for years at Barcelona and he is able to have a lot of influence with his work,” he said.
“He is like a talisman because he brings so much positivity and intensity to our play and he is crucial when you consider, on top of that, his quality.”
As well as winning their group, Barca lead La Liga by four points after crushing Real Madrid 4-0 in El Clasico on Saturday.
Luis Enrique, though, believes there is still margin for improvement.
“When you see your players enjoying themselves then that is nicer but there are things to improve clearly,” he said.
“Tomorrow when we are training we will look at ways that we can do things better. When you have eleven players then there is always going to be ways that they can coordinate better.”
(Editing by Rex Gowar)