Enrique: League was never won

Luis Enrique insisted Barcelona “never said the League was won” after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Real Sociedad.

Mikel Oyarzabal’s goal proved the difference at Anoeta as Barca suffered a fourth straight defeat in San Sebastian and back-to-back losses in La Liga, leaving Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid just three and four points behind respectively in the title race.

Nonetheless, the Coach said after the game: “They scored with their first shot. We had a very poor first half. We wanted to win the game from the start with more heart than head, but we needed more order and tranquillity.

“I liked the second half more. We created more chances, but Rulli had a good game. Without playing well, I don’t think we deserved the defeat.

“There’s six games left and this is an open and exciting League. Pessimistic assessments won’t help my team. They are players, not machines.

“Now we have to think about Wednesday and getting into the [Champions League] semi-finals.

“On Saturday, I need all the Catalans at the stadium to help us against Valencia.

“We never said it was easy, that the League was won or anything.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate that we’re the best team in the world. I have no doubt that we’ll compete.

“It’s evidence [that there’s less margin for error now]. Three weeks ago we were in a much more comfortable situation.

“We weren’t at our usual level in any of these games, but I’ve always said that the team must be together at the business end of the season, and now’s the time for that.

“These types of games can weigh you down and there’s no possibilities of making mistakes in them, but we approach the end of the season with everything still to play for.

“We can have no apologies or excuses, only results. There’s no question of sinking or thinking we’re in a bad dynamic. There’s reasons to be optimistic, even though the results aren’t desirable at the moment.

“Real are like a stone in your shoe. If I have to lose, I’d rather do so against teams who play football like Real.”

Tags Luis Enrique