BARCELONA: Barcelona coach Luis Enrique insisted his side will need an improved display when faced with the very different challenge of former Barca boss Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City after laboring to a 1-0 win over Granada on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
Barca travel to Manchester on Tuesday having thrashed Guardiola’s men 4-0 less than two weeks ago to take a commanding lead of Champions League Group C thanks to a Lionel Messi hat trick.
However, Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar endured a rare off night in front of goal as midfielder Rafinha bagged the only goal against an ultra defensive-minded Granada.
“Now we will go to Manchester and in theory we will have a team that presses us high and we’ll be left almost one against one,” said Enrique.
“You have to be very efficient and precise to overcome that pressure. If you overcome it, you are going to have chances and, if not, the opponent will win the ball in your half with quality players.”
In contrast to their Champions League position, Barca trail eternal rivals Real Madrid by two points at the top of La Liga after 10 games.
However, with four wins in a row in all competitions, Enrique believes Barca is headed in the right direction.
“We are close to the top but we are behind,” he added.
“There are still almost all the clashes between the title rivals to come, but I think we are headed in the right direction in La Liga and the Champions League.”
Rafinha’s fine overhead finish was his fifth goal in as many La Liga games as the Brazilian continues to make the most of his opportunities in a Barca squad ravaged by injuries.
And Enrique stressed the importance of goals from midfield to back up the threat posed by Messi, Suarez and Neymar.
“He’s getting into the box more which is something we always ask of midfield players.
“That’s the important thing. We have three unique, incomparable players up front, but the more players we can have taking chances and getting into the box the better.
“It is always a boost for the midfield players to score goals and in Rafa’s case he is a player that arrives very well from deep.”