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19.09.2008 14:06

Luis Enrique: “Beating Sporting won’t be easy”


Luis Enrique does not think Barça will have it all their own way against Sporting Gijón. The Barça Atlètic coach played for both Barça and Sporting and told www.fcbarcelona.cat about his mixed feelings ahead of Sunday’s game.

Luis Enrique Martínez will be eyeing this Sunday’s match between Sporting Gijón and Barça at El Molinón with special interest, it being a clash between the two clubs he holds closest to his heart. And he predicts a tricky match for the Catalans against a Sporting side that may not have got off to the best of starts in the championship, with two defeats out of two, but that will present Guardiola’s side with a lot to think about at El Molinón: “They are a very tough team and they will put up a strong fight in front of their own fans. They play a very attack-minded game, but are very disciplined about it and are physically strong. Barça won’t have it easy”.

Back in the top flight

B-puchov_15-10.jpgSporting are back in the first division after a decade in the lower leagues. Luis Enrique is thrilled to have his countrymen back in the top tier, saying “it means a lot on a football level. People are very keen for the team to do well in the top flight. It is a major impulse for the team, and the city too, to once again be playing games against teams like Barça and other top class sides, and for Sporting to once again feel what it is like to be in the first division.”

Looking to stay up

Sporting have no greater ambitions this season than merely avoiding the drop. Luis Enrique feels even doing that might be difficult: “I think they’re going to suffer. I’d love them to be able to stay up easily, but I am sure they won’t because finance matters a lot, and Sporting just isn’t the kind of club that can strengthen its squad with expensive signings.”

Such difficulties are certainly showing so far, as the Asturians have yet to register any points, but Luis Enrique doesn’t think there is any cause for alarm quite yet: “Sporting have to remember that the start of the season against powerful teams of such a high level is not what the reality is always about. They will also have league meetings with other teams struggling against relegation.”
Luis Enrique: “Beating Sporting won’t be easy”
Bittersweet memories
Luis Enrique has peculiar memories of the last time Sporting and Barça met at El Molinón. Barça won 4-1, but although the current Barça Atlético coach scored twice, he refused to celebrate: “Of course I was delighted to help my team win the game, but I didn’t celebrate the goals nor feel any particular joy, because, as you know, I have been a Sporting man since the day I was born.”

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