Luis Enrique hailed Marc-Andre ter Stegen for a “cold-blooded” performance during Barcelona’s 1-0 win at Athletic Bilbao in La Liga on Sunday.
Ter Stegen started his first League game on merit in over two years following the midweek departure of Claudio Bravo and put a shaky start behind him as he stuck with his ball-playing style and went on to make 46 successful passes – the most for a Primera goalkeeper since the 2005-06 season.
“The game was played at a frenetic pace that is not typical of this stage of the season,” the Coach said after the match.
“We knew they were going to press high and that they’d make it complicated for us to bring the ball out.
“From there, we made several mistakes in the first half, but we also overcame their pressure on many occasions and scored a spectacular goal.
“We had many chances in the second half and didn’t take them, but we won and I’m very happy about that.
“I wish we had more control of the game, although our opponents pressed us well.
“I believe we should close games like these sooner because we created many chances that we didn’t take advantage of, and against a team of [Athletic’s] calibre, these are three points of much merit.
“[The players] are [competing] as they did at the end of last season, they’re very much plugged in and eager to compete.
“[Ter Stegen] has cold blood, is German and I think he’s a good German. He applies his quality very well.”