Speaking ahead of his side’s Copa del Rey semi-final against Villarreal tomorrow, Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has praised under-fire striker Luis Suarez for his contributions to the team.
The Uruguayan’s lack of goals for La Blaugrana has been constant;y harped on by pundits and a section of the club’s supporters. But Enrique shrugged off questions about whether or not the Uruguay international was under pressure and insisted he was pleased with the striker’s production.
“I don’t know. It’s a question for him,” Enrique responded when asked if Suarez felt relieved of some of his pressure with his goal against Athletic Bilbao this past weekend.
“He creates plenty of chances and we’re happy with his performances. He’s been playing really well for us when you take into account it’s only his first season.”
After scoring 33 Premier League goals for Liverpool last season, Suarez has struggled to find the back of the net with Barcelona.
The Uruguayan has made 12 appearances in La Liga since making his debut in late October, scoring only three times. But regardless of his goal scoring drought, the striker has been one of the club’s better providers, tallying eight assists in the league.
With Lionel Messi leading the team in scoring (23 La Liga goals) and Neymar running in second (16 goals), Barcelona are not short in attacking quality.
After losing to Real Sociedad in their first match following the winter break, the Catalan club have won nine straight matches in all competitions. During that span, Barcelona have outscored their opponents by a score of 34-7.
Some fans and pundits have stated they believe Luis Enrique has hurt the team’s style of play by electing to start Suarez over veteran forward Pedro. But the manager stuck to his decision and has continued to start the Uruguayan striker alongside Messi and Neymar in Barcelona’s attack, and his patience has been rewarded by the trio’s improved performance in January.
Barcelona currently trails league leading Real Madrid by one point on the La Liga table.
Programming note: The first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final between Barcelona and Villarreal will be shown LIVE on Wednesday afternoon starting at 1:55pm EST on beIN SPORTS and DishWorld.
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