BARCELONA are showing Celtic a considerable degree of respect ahead of the opening Champions League Group C fixture tomorrow evening at Camp Nou.
After leaving out many of his superstars from his starting line-up on Saturday evening’s league match with Alavés, Barca Boss Luis Enrique is under pressure given the newly promoted Alavés side left the Camp Nou with all three points.
“Many of the changes came from the circumstances surrounding us, but we have 22 players and we are going to use everyone this season,” Enrique said after the match.
He continued: “We lacked fluidity, precision and we were fragile in defence, which is one of the things that normally makes us strong.”
“I am the one ultimately responsible for all the bad things that happen,” said Enrique.
Enrique spoke again this morning but was by this time more interested in the Celtic challenge rather than looking back at Saturday’s 2-1 shock defeat.
Celtic of course also played a newly promoted side earlier on Saturday but the on form Scottish Champions didn’t have to get out of third gear as they put five past the league’s newcomers.
Enrique will be hoping for a repeat of the pre-season friendly in Dublin where his side regained the lead after an Efe Ambrose own goal. “We will see a Celtic side similar to the one we faced in pre-season. They will push us,” Enrique observed.
Ambrose hasn’t been registered for Celtic’s Champions League Squad.
“To beat Celtic we must be strong in defence, be aggressive and be quick,”Enrique believes.
Recognising the weaknesses in his own side that contributed to the shock at the weekend Enrique said: “We draw positive conclusions from the defeat against Alaves in order to correct errors.”
And the Barca boss is clearly seeing improvements in the Celtic side he’ll take on at on Tuesday evening and he has identified the reason for Celtic getting better.
“I like Brendan Rodgers’ philosophy and you can already see his influence at Celtic.”
Jordi Alba seems to agree with his manager, he stated: “Against Celtic, we must keep possession and be aggressive.”
And the respect for Celtic from the Barca coach continued to the end of his conference when he made this nice comment. “We go into the match against Celtic with the joy of knowing that they are a historic team.”