Luis Enrique paid tribute to Andres Iniesta and Luis Suarez after the pair combined to great effect in Barcelona’s Club World Cup semi-final win.
The Catalans eliminated Guangzhou Evergrande through a Suarez hat-trick, with Iniesta the hub of the team’s creative efforts in the absence of Lionel Messi, who was ill, and Neymar, only on the bench after a groin problem.
“Andres dominates the passing game very well. Luis is an assassin in the penalty area, able to take any chance,” Enrique said after the match, AS reports.
“We didn’t have a slow pace, but we weren’t at our best in the first half. Then things changed. From the first moment we made a complete impact.
“Against a team that has a lot of people [behind the ball], we have to look for good alternatives. [Shooting from distance] gives you options.
“With the amount of people back there, there can be deflections and it can be difficult for the goalkeeper. The midfielders tried it and so did Sandro and Munir.”
Enrique then looked ahead to Sunday’s final, refusing to say if Barca are favourites, and offering a similar reply to the question of Messi and Neymar’s involvement.
“I don’t know if Messi or Neymar will play. The team’s given a serious account, no mistakes, leaving the opponent without options for danger. We didn’t let their Brazilian stars stand out,” he continued.
“Champions? We don’t know yet. [River Plate] will have a lot of support from the stands, but we’re used to playing in stadiums with a lot of atmosphere.”