Luis Enrique: 'We can't relax'

Luis Enrique Martínez said Barça's aim is to beat Arsenal on Wednesday night. / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The FC Barcelona head coach speaks to the media ahead of Wednesday night’s clash with Arsenal in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League

When FC Barcelona face Arsenal in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League last 16 tie at Camp Nou, they’ll be aiming for a birth in the tournament’s quarter-final round for the nine consecutive season. Not too shabby.

The Catalans will be holding a 2–0 aggregate advantage from the first leg when play kicks off on Wednesday night at 8:45 PM Central European Time.

Head coach Luis Enrique Martínez, however, is not taking this game lightly. “The scoreboard looks very good, but it will not change our approach nor our preparation,” he said. “The tie is open and we are still in a dangerous situation, conscious that we have to be serious if we want to go through. This game does not give us time to relax.”

When asked about the clash versus Arsenal, the manager said he was convinced they would take the same approach as they did in the first leg. “In London, they pressured us up the field and I am convinced that they will do the same here,” he said. “They are a very direct team and have the capacity to make things difficult for us. They have a very good aerial game, especially with Giroud and Wellbeck, and we will have to be careful if their second line moves forward.”

He also said that the return of Alexis Sánchez to Camp Nou could serve as motivation for him. “He is a quality player who is very physical and who has improved a lot,” the Barça manager said. “He is very difficult to stop and you have to keep an eye on him.”


FC Barcelona have not lost a game since 3 October and are unbeaten in their last 37. Nevertheless, the FC Barcelona manager says those numbers don’t mean anything.

“As of today the results are very good, but everything has to be confirmed,” he said. “Being where we are brings us closer to our overall objective of winning the same titles as last season, but to do it you have to be humble and have the capacity to improve in those aspects that influence the game.”

“The team knows that no squad is perfect and you can always improve,” he said

One player who will not be in the line-up on Wednesday is centre-back Gerard Piqué, who will be serving a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation. But that doesn’t bother Luis Enrique.

“I have plenty of very good central defenders who have great speed,” he said. “They are all very good in the aerial game and are very good at bringing the ball up the field. I trust them completely.”

As of today the results are very good, but everything has to be confirmed.