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Luis Enrique says that Barcelona probably played the best football – under his management – in the first half against Manchester City.
The game ended in a disappointing 3-1 loss, which was their first against City, for the Spanish club, but Barcelona still remain in a strong position as far as qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League is concerned. Enrique has made it a priority to do well in the European competition after failing to win the title last time around. However, he believes that Barcelona were at their best only in the first half.
Even though the away team led to a goal from Lionel Messi, they were undone in the second half by a quite brilliant City team that seemed to have matured finally under Pep Guardiola. The new City manager has been experiencing problems with regard to formation and personnel over the last few games.
They were coming into the game on the back of just one win in the last seven games. As a result, they were not really confident and this clearly showed in the first half. Guardiola made some changes to the team and it paid off quite brilliantly. City have now put themselves in charge of their Champions League future after moving three points ahead of Bayer Leverkusen.
“If you look at the first 40 mins in Manchester it was the best 40 minutes of my time here. There was another 50 minutes where City were better than us. So in short it doesn’t matter what you do, how well you play, if you don’t win the game. I have to recognise we were deservedly beaten [by City] and focus on the next game. People are quick to praise [us] when we do well and to criticise when we’re poor,” said Enrique after the game.
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Guardiola gives Man City injury update on Delph and Sagna. Fabian Delph has not played for Manchester City since the back end of August while Bacary Sagna’s last match was against Bulgaria in World Cup Qualifier clash.
Fabian Delph is on the mend after a successful operation on his groin. The Manchester City midfielder appeared in three of the first four Manchester City matches under Pep Guardiola. But injury problems have kept him out of the squad since August 24.
“Fabian, after being operated upon in Barcelona with Ramon Cugat, is doing really, really well,” Guardiola said. “When I spoke with him and the doctor, they assured me that there is no pain now. He is happy. But he is still out and training alone.”
Bacary Sagna was also out of the match against Middlesbrough as he continues his recovery from an injury suffered with France in the last international window. The right-back is expected to be available again before the end of the month and the former Barcelona and Munich coach Guardiola, who has had a few run-ins with medical teams in his time as a coach still feels satisfied with the state of his squad.
“Bacary is getting better,” the coach announced. “I suppose after the international break he will be fit enough to return to training then back to the squad.
“Luckily for us, we have a marvelous medical and physio department. We have 21, 22 players available and ready, so that seems fantastic in a period when there are a lot of injuries.”
Manchester City dropped to 3rd on the league table after their tragic late minute draw against Middlesbrough while the table leaders, Liverpool trashed Watford 6-1. Chelsea’s 5-0 win over Everton pushed them to second position on the table as Arsenal and Spurs occupy fourth and fifth position respectively after their 1-1 draw.
Alen Halilovic is looking to return to the top flight of Spain now as he has realized that he made a mistake going to Germany at an important time of his career.
Halilovic had actually been advised to remain in Spanish top flight by Barcelona when they were selling him a couple of years back. They had told him that they rated his potential and could see him return to Camp Nou and play a great role in future and for that reason they wanted to place him at a Liga club so that they could easily follow him and could keep him in their sight. Continue reading
The Spanish giants would face their German opposition without their superstar Lionel Messi when both sides meet in the UEFA Champions League.
The La Liga champions will travel to Borussia Moenchengladbach on Wednesday without Messi. Barca is hoping their other stars in Luis Suarez, Neymar and others would seal the game without the Argentine.
Messi has been sidelined for three weeks due to a groin injury he picked up. The Group C affair is an important game as Barcelona would want to top the group. They were on fire when they knocked five goals past Sporting Gijon even in the absence of Messi in the La Liga. After their 7-0 huge victory over Scottish side Celtic, they would want to maintain their perfect record ahead of their clash with the group archrivals Manchester City – led by former coach Pep Guardiola.
“I have different kinds of players and that gives me a lot of options. Depending on who we are playing and the players I have available, I will pick the ones that I think are right for the situation,” Luis Enrique said after resting several players like Jordi Alba, Javier Mascherano, Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta ahead of the game against the Germans.
“To lose Messi means that football loses. With Messi we are stronger, but we will continue being strong,” Enrique added.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen would definitely relish meeting his former club when both sides meet.
“Borussia are my old love and that will remain so but I identify with Barca 100 percent and on the pitch there is only one club for me,” Ter Stegen claimed, declaring his loyalty for the Catalan giant ahead of the match.
Gladbach enjoy a 11-match winning streak at home, in all competitions. Barca will face a huge test coming into the game, especially as they want a perfect record.
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has stated that he wants to retire in the MLS. The player joined Barcelona in 1997 and is now nearing the end of his career with the Spanish giant. He admitted that he is considering making a move to the MLS.
This will come as a surprise for many Barcelona fans as they were expecting the player to end his career in Spain. Indeed Pique has previously stated that he will end his career with Barcelona and that he will never leave the club.
It seems that the player has been tempted by the ever growing list of players that have made the shift to the MLS. At the moment many former Barcelona players are playing in the MLS, and it is becoming likely that Pique will follow them in the future.
Indeed former Barcelona players such as Thierry Henry and David Villa are currently playing in the MLS, and this is likely to inspire Gerard Pique to make the move also to the MLS.
The Barcelona defender has stated that the football level in the MLS is constantly improving and that it could turn out to be an interesting challenge for him in the future. At the same time you should not forget the monetary rewards that are associated with playing in the MLS and this in itself can be quite a motivation for any player to make the move to the United States.
It is also believed that the player has received different offers from China and that he is currently considering the various options. He said that football is developing well in both countries but he prefers to play in the MLS.
At the moment he wants to focus on his career with Barcelona and will take a decision at the appropriate time.
Spanish giant Barcelona is upset about the way Santos sold forward Gabriel to Inter Milan.
It is believed that Barcelona has an agreement in place with the Brazilian club that allows them to have the first option on the purchase of some players. The Spanish side argues that they were not given enough time to decide whether they will buy the player or not.
The agreement is in place since 2013 when Barcelona signed Neymar from Santos. It is reported that they pay an additional fee of €7m to guarantee that they have a preferential option for the purchase of several players among which was Gabriel.
Barcelona feels that they were not given sufficient time to consider whether they will be purchasing the striker or not. It is believed that the Brazilian club only gave Barcelona 48 hours to decide whether they need the player or not. The Barcelona board argues that they were given incomplete information about the player and that they could not make a proper decision in the timeframe that they were given.
It is believed that the Spanish side might be reporting Santos to FIFA for a breach of agreement. Continue reading
Luis Enrique says that he is expecting a different mentality from Sevilla under the management of Jorge Sampaoli.
The former coach of the Chilean national team has a very tough task on his hands to match the achievements of Unai Emery. The former Sevilla manager led the club to 3 successive Europa League titles. This led to his appointment at French outfit Paris St Germain. Sevilla were unable to keep their manager due to the lack of spending power. They have appointed Sampaoli in the hope that the recent tradition with regard to European football will be continued.
However,Sampaoli has very little experience of European football after having previously coached only players playing in the European leagues like Alexis Sanchez. In terms of club football, he has managed the likes of Universidad de Chile primarily in South American region. He could not have wished for a tougher opening at his new job. Sevilla came up against Real Madrid in the UEFA cup final but lost 3-2 in extra time even after some extraordinary comeback. They are now up against Barcelona in two-legged Super Cup match. They start the new La Liga campaign with a home match against Espanyol.