By Elena Gyldenkerne
BARCELONA (Reuters) – Barcelona may be suffering a mini injury crisis but they are not about to surrender their Spanish league and Cup and Champions League titles without a fight, coach Luis Enrique said on Friday.
Barca’s Spain playmaker and captain Andres Iniesta was the latest to be sidelined, sustaining a hamstring strain in Tuesday’s 2-1 Champions League comeback win at home to Bayer Leverkusen that local media reported could keep him out for more than a month.
The club’s talismanic Argentina forward Lionel Messi and Brazil midfielder Rafinha are also injured and Luis Enrique will have to reshuffle his team for Saturday’s La Liga clash at Europa League holders Sevilla.
“What I do see is that many are hoping to see Barca fall,” the former Barca and Spain midfielder told a news conference.
“Obviously not our fans but many people outside Barca that are hoping for this team to crumble,” added the 45-year-old, who led Barca to the treble in his first season in charge last term.
“But we are like cork, we float. Whatever happens, we are going to fight and stay united. Whatever happens.”
It could be a good weekend for Barca if they can beat Sevilla and arch rivals Real Madrid fail to win at city neighbours Atletico on Sunday.
With six matches played, Villarreal, who play at Levante on Sunday, are the surprise leaders on 16 points, with Barca second on 15 and Real and Celta Vigo level on 14 points in third and fourth respectively. Atletico, the 2014 champions, are fifth on 12 points.
“It’s always interesting when direct rivals play each other but the only important thing for us is to win in Seville,” Luis Enrique said.
After this weekend’s action, there is a two-week break for internationals before Barca host Rayo Vallecano on Oct. 17.
(Writing by Iain Rogers, editing by Toby Davis)