‘Players right behind Enrique’ – Pique


Barcelona (AFP) – Under-fire Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has the total support of his players, influential central defender Gerard Pique insisted on Monday.

Pique was keen to rally fans to the cause after they had booed the team during a 2-1 league win over lowly Leganes on Sunday, as the fallout from a 4-0 Champions League first-leg last-16 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain last week turned ugly.

“All the players are completely behind the coach,” Pique said of Enrique, who bore the brunt of criticsm after the PSG thrashing and who had a good share of the boos on Sunday.

“When the fans come here to the stadium we want their support,” Pique said.

“Sometimes we get it right, and sometimes not. But this is the same coach that led us to the treble,” Pique said, reminding fans of the 2015 feat Enrique managed in his debut season, winning the Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey.

The current coach took over after Pep Guardiola’s reign was followed by more modest success from Tito Villanova, who won a league title and Gerardo Martino, who won nothing.

Pique, a World Cup and European Championship winner, admitted Barcelona had been below par of late.

“We’ve been unrecognisable, unable to hold possession, but trust me we’re the ones hurting most.

“We are alive in all three competitions however and stranger things have happened in football, even if it looks highly compromised for us in the Champions League.

“I swear we will do everything to turn that around,” he promised.

Baca have a Cup final with Alaves and after the Leganes win are a single point behind eternal rivals Real Madrid in La Liga, albeit having played two games more.

Barca face a stiff test next weekend when they travel to Atletico Madrid, before hosting PSG on March 8.

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