Luis Enrique believes Barcelona are reaping the benefis of Lionel Messi’s injury earlier in the season after Wednesday’s 2-0 win at Espanyol in the Copa del Rey.
The Argentine has been an ever-present for La Blaugrana since his cameo against Real Madrid in November, appearing as the only member of the ‘MSN’ at Cornella-El Prat, and his Coach claims the side are “taking advantage” of the rest he enjoyed during his spell on the sidelines.
“[On whether he considered taking off Lionel Messi due to Espanyol’s physicality], no,” he said after the game.
“It was a much calmer game because the tie was difficult [for Espanyol] to overcome. It’s better for everyone when football is the focus.
“I’m satisfied with our performance, the result and how we adapted to different players and tactics.
“We went with a double pivot to gain superiority in midfield and look for more options to support Leo.
“I really liked [our performance]. We started a little hesitantly, but after 15 minutes we had control and the feeling of causing [Espanyol] problems with ease.
“Overall, I’m satisfied. It was a game which needed sincerity and rigour to see out, and I’m happy.
“I saw Leo do very well. He rested for a long time with his injury, so we can take advantage of the more minutes he gets and he can enjoy his football more.”