Enrique backs Messi on penalty duties

Luis Enrique has insisted that Lionel Messi will remain Barcelona’s default penalty taker, despite his miss from the spot against Manchester City on Tuesday.

La Blaugrana took a 2-1 victory in their Champions League last-16 first leg at the Etihad Stadium, but Joe Hart guessed right in the closing stages of the match to deny the No 10 from the spot and keep the English champions in the tie ahead of the return leg next month.

“I would have taken the result. It’s a deserved result and one we must be proud of. These knockout matches are hard to close in a single leg,” the Coach said after the game.

“The first half was splendid and we had countless chances [to score]. We stood out in everything we did.

“I'll stick to [looking] at the match as a whole, but we did very well in the first half, finding open spaces and moving the ball doing.

“We also defended very well. We were always going to have problems in the second half.

“Our rivals pressed us, and at times made us suffer, but the result is more than fair, even if we’ve played better this season.

“We’re very pleased with the result. Penalties are for those who dare to step up and our penalty taker is undoubtedly Leo Messi.

“The tie’s still open, against opponents of [Champions League] quality, so we must not relax. The aim is to tackle the second leg with confidence.

“The whole team had a spectacular game, every one of them. I’m very pleased with the attitude of the players.

“Things in the dressing room are of no interest to anyone, especially to you [journalists].”

Tags Lionel Messi Luis Enrique Manchester City
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