Luis Enrique on breaking down stubborn opponents: “It wasn’t easy with trident-era Barcelona and it’s not going to be with any team”

La Roja face Georgia tomorrow in Tblisi, in the second match of the qualification phase for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. It’s an important game in getting Luis Enrique’s men off to a good start in their group, all the more so after their disappointing 1-1 draw with Greece at Los Carmenes during the week.

La Roja came into the international break in a good mood. They finished top of their group in the qualification phase for Euro 2020, five points clear of Sweden and nine clear of Norway. They also finished top of their Nations League group, pipping Germany by two points and ending that campaign with a 6-0 evisceration of the runners-up in November at La Cartuja.

Inigo Martinez

Luis Enrique, speaking in his pre-match press conference in comments carried by Mundo Deportivo, gave an update on the physical conditions of Gerard Moreno and Sergio Ramos, who’d been struggling with injury. “Gerard is better and I think he’ll train with the team,” he said. “We won’t take risks, he’ll tell us how he’s feeling. Sergio? I’ll name the lineup tomorrow and the players will be the first to know.”

Sergio Canales

Georgia come into the game off the back of a narrow 1-0 defeat to Sweden in their qualifying opener. Luis Enrique made it clear his men know they’re in for a game. “I think they deserved to draw,” he said. “They played Sweden face to face. I’m looking forward to facing them, a team proactive with the ball.

“We’re prepared for any scenario. Against Greece we had 40 unforced errors, we lacked the finesse and freshness that I’ve already mentioned. From a positional level, we need to improve things, but I’m super proud of their attitude. [The game against Greece] was the best defensive performance of my coaching career, but we have to improve in the offensive phase against opponents that play a low block. It wasn’t easy with trident-era Barcelona and it’s not going to be with any team.”

Tags La Roja Luis Enrique