Enrique ‘surprised’ by referee choice

Luis Enrique admitted he was ‘surprised’ to see Jose Luis Gonzalez Gonzalez named the referee for Barcelona’s Copa del Rey first leg against Athletic Bilbao.

Gonzalez Gonzalez took the whistle for the Espanyol-Barca League derby in early January, a game in which La Blaugrana felt their Catalan rivals were overly aggressive and complained about the lack of action by the official.

“I was surprised at the referee’s appointment. I didn’t expect it. I was surprised, as was the entire world of football,” Enrique said at a pre-match Press conference, Marca reports.

“You see what I mean. Based on precedent it’s not good news for us or for the referee. It’s not good for the game either, as a spectacle. There’s a need to prevent tension.”

It’s the second time in quick succession that Barca and Athletic meet, after Barca routed the 10-man Basques in the League at the weekend.

“It’s a knockout game, a different competition. It’s the quarter-finals, which means a tough opponent at a difficult ground,” he replied when asked if the League match has any impact on Wednesday’s fixture.

“The game the other day isn’t an issue. It’ll be 11 against 11. Unless someone tells me there’ll be another expulsion…

“We’re used to the San Mames atmosphere but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect you. We have to use it as a stimulus.

“Aritz Aduriz? He’s a key player not only for what he brings to the game but for how he dominates in the air. He doesn’t need time and space to finish.

“He’s gotten better as time has gone on. He’s an example for his team and for us.”

Tags Luis Enrique