Luis Enrique remains steadfast, praises players following tough defeat

Luis Enrique has always backed his players through thick and thin. / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The FC Barcelona manager was his same old optimistic self after a loss that sees league lead trimmed to the bare minimum

Faced with perhaps the most adversity in his almost two full seasons as FC Barcelona’s manager, Luis Enrique Martínez continues to stay the course, keeping the steadiest of keels and exhibiting his trademark sanguineness, an uncompromising optimism where most other men in his position would be frantically grabbing for alternate explanations.

“These are games that are very difficult to play and the team came up with a magnificent response,” he said after FC Barcelona came up just short in a 2–1 defeat to Valencia on Sunday night. “We played a very complete first half, but we were unlucky and we needed it to win the game.”

The untrained eye could see that luck — or a lack thereof — was a major factor once again, invisible yet all too present. Luis Enrique, nonetheless, knows it’s uncontrollable.

“I remain positive about our level of play, we were very superior, but not so effective,” he said after a game in which Barça managed one goal despite seven shots on target while Valencia scored twice on just three shots on target. “We had very good stretches in the second half but it wasn’t to be.”

Here are the highlights of his post-game press conference:

“Sometimes that’s what happens at football. You have to know how to lose.”

“Now we have an incredible challenge in front of us. If we win the five remaining games we will be the champions.”

“I’ve never seen camp now so behind the team in the situation that we are in.”

“I congratulate my players for the way they have handled the adversity. We just have to get back up. We depend on ourselves. We know how big of a challenge it is.”

“Today I think it was a difficult situation, but we knew we had to play a very good game, and we dominated all facets of play.”

“This is the path forward. We can’t win every single game by playing anyway we want, we have to have order and we have to be organized.”

“Today there’s not a single Barça supporters who is not proud of the team.”

“If there’s one team that’s capable of picking itself up it’s this Barça.”

“Today is not a day to criticize my players, but to praise them.”

“The players have taught everyone a lesson about how to approach a game like this. We were trying to tie the game until the 93rd minute.”

“It would have been very unfair to take out any of the players. They were playing very good game.”