Barcelona Not Feeling Champions League Pressure, Says Luis Enrique
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique insists his team are not feeling any added pressure to retain their Champions League crown.
Enrique led Barca to the treble in his debut season in charge as they won La Liga and the Copa del Rey in addition to the Champions League and they begin the defence of their European crown against AS Roma on Wednesday.
The Catalan giants are aiming to become the first club since AC Milan in 1990 to win successive titles, a feat they could achieve at the Italian club’s San Siro stadium next May.
“The goal of winning a second consecutive Champions League does not bring added pressure,” Enrique said. “It’s a marvellous incentive worthy of all the Barca family and the team.
“We’ll try to do it but it’s not pressure but quite the opposite. When the ball starts to move there are no champions and no favourites but 32 teams who want to win the title.”
Roma finished second in Serie A the past two seasons but have struggled to compete with Europe’s top clubs.
However, they have made a strong start to their latest Serie A campaign, beating Italian champions Juventus, who lost 3-1 to Barca in last season’s Champions League final, at the Stadio Olimpico at the end of last month.
Barca beat Roma 3-0 in a friendly at the Nou Camp before the season started but Enrique said he is expecting a very different game on Wednesday.
“I expect a Roma side like the one I saw in Serie A against Juventus,” he told reporters.
“A strong team that knows how to press, knows how to play the ball and has players of great quality, able to create dangerous situations at any time.”