Luis Enrique praised his “workmanlike” Barcelona for digging deep to secure a 2-1 victory over Las Palmas in La Liga on Saturday.
First-half goals from Luis Suarez and Neymar earned La Blaugrana a hard-fought win after Willian Jose had initially cancelled out the Uruguayan’s goal, and the Coach dismissed claims his side endured a difficult afternoon at Gran Canaria.
“I don’t think we played slowly,” he said after the game.
“Perhaps at times, due to [Las Palmas’] speed in attack, we faced more transitions than normal.
“The last 10 minutes were due to our opponents’ need [for an equaliser].
“We resolved [Las Palmas’ pressure] with better positioning and not losing to so many counterattacks in the last few minutes.
“[Las Palmas] aren’t a team who give the ball away easily. They were perfectly positioned, and we struggled to regain possession.
“We were more workmanlike than usual, but we’re playing every three days at the moment, so we can only ask the players to compete well [like on Saturday].
“We have to improve on certain things, but I’m happy. We have increased the advantage over our rivals in the League.
“[On Arsenal], it’s another competition, a 180-minute tie. They’re a complicated team to face, with quality to put us in trouble, so it’ll be difficult.
“[On rotating his attack], I don’t have to explain my decisions. They are what they are.
“I saw Javi Varas perform at a very high level. Las Palmas were in the game at all times.
“If you don’t kill a game off, like we didn’t, you can have a game like ours [on Saturday].
“Still, I think we had enough chances to kill the game off earlier.
[On Arda Turan’s substitution at half-time], he picked up a card.
“Arda often has a habit of going to ground to retrieve the ball. He succeeds many times, but I didn’t want us to take any chances.
“[On two left-footers, Jeremy Mathieu and Thomas Vermaelen, in central defence], it’s just as usual for us to play with two right-footed players. Nothing changes.
“In fact, Thomas gave us a lot of calmness in air balls. Playing [Javier] Masche further forward gave us more weight in stopping counterattacks.”