Coach Enrique concedes Barcelona’s La Liga fate now depends on Real

Barcelona, Jan 9 (IANS) After FC Barcelona’s last gasp 1-1 draw against Villareal in a La Liga match, head coach Luis Enrique conceded that his team is now relying on Real Madrid to slip up after they fell five points behind the capital club at the top of the Spanish football league.

With the draw on Sunday night, Barcelona are third with 35 points from 17 games, while Zinedine Zidane-coached Real have 40 points from 16 games. Sevilla are second with 36 points from 17 matches.

“We don’t depend on ourselves in the league,” Barcelona coach Enrique was quoted by ESPNFC as saying in his post-game news conference.

“But there’s still half of the season and more to go. So of course there’s time (for a reaction in title race) and we (still) have the opportunity to fight for (the title), but we depend on Madrid. The only option we have is to start winning right now. To win and to keep winning.”

Messi’s 13th goal in La Liga this season rescued a point for Barcelona after Nicola Sansone’s opener, but Enrique felt his side was worthy of all three points.

“We deserved the three points in terms of chances and in terms of play, but we’re not in a favourable dynamic. We hit the post and we generated enough chances to win,” he added.

“I would like to say that Barcelona have played poorly, but that wasn’t even the case in (Athletic) Bilbao (when the team lost 1-2 in the King’s Cup pre-quarterfinal). They’ve been two satisfactory performances, but the results are bad. We have to enter another dynamic now,” he added.

“We have to keep improving. When you’re stuck in a dynamic like this you have to be stronger than ever. I have no doubts that we will come out of it.”