Luis Enrique admits Barcelona “haven’t been at the level needed to defend” their La Liga crown ahead of Sunday’s do-or-die clash with Eibar.
Barca must beat Eibar and hope Madrid lose to Malaga, but the latter are coached by Blancos legend Michel Gonzalez and have nothing to play for, leaving Enrique seemingly resigned to his side’s fate in the title race.
“We need to focus on Eibar because it’s the only thing we can control,” the Coach said at a Press conference
“If we pull it off, fantastic, if not, we must congratulate our opponents.
“Still, Leagues are resolved at the last moment and that’s our objective.
“We haven’t been at the level that was needed to defend [our title]. The line separating success from failure is very thin.
“What do I expect from Malaga? I’m confident of a Barca victory.
“Eibar? Any rival on the last day are a danger, especially this Eibar.
“There are always things to be played for, finishing higher or lower or completing your best season. We know that they’ll be a dangerous rival.
“Pique has trained normally, but Mascherano won’t be back before the [Copa del Rey] Final.
“Young players? I’d like to use all the players I have, but if they’re not at the right level then I can’t play them.”
Barcelona (probable): Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Suarez, Neymar
Injuries/suspensions: Vidal, Mascherano, Mathieu, Rafinha (I)
Eibar (probable): Riesgo; Capa, Ramis, Lejeune, Junca; Pedro Leon, Dani Garcia, Escalante, Inui; Enrich, Kike
Injuries/suspensions: Luna, Fran Rico, Nano (I)
Referee: Hernandez Hernandez
Form guide: Barca (W W W W W) Eibar (L L W D L)
Previous meeting: Eibar 0-4 Barca
Kick-off time: 19:00 UK time/20:00 local time (LIVE on Football Espana!)