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Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Barca can hit PSG for six, says Enrique

Barcelona's coach Luis Enrique/ AFP PHOTO / PEDRO ARMESTRE

Outgoing Barcelona boss Luis Enrique claimed his side have the firepower to stick six goals past Paris Saint-Germain as they attempt to make Champions League history by overturning a 4-0 first-leg deficit on Wednesday.

“If they can score four goals against us, we can score six. We have nothing to lose and a lot to win,” said an uncharacteristically buoyant Enrique on Tuesday.

The fierce criticism that came Enrique’s way after their humiliation in Paris three weeks ago has eased after he announced last week that he will step down after three seasons as coach at the end of the campaign.

Rather than show any ill-effects from Enrique’s decision, optimism in the Catalan capital of a stunning fightback has soared after thrashing Sporting Gijon and Celta Vigo 6-1 and 5-0 respectively in their last two outings.

“Despite the fact that the result from the first leg is very one-sided we are only halfway through the tie,” added Enrique.

“In 95 minutes an infinite amount of things can happen. I am convinced that at some point we will be close to qualifying.

“That isn’t to say we will do it, but that we will be close. And when you are close our confidence will soar and theirs could start to diminish.”

No team in the history of the Champions League has turned around a four-goal deficit.

However, the statistics back up Enrique’s confidence.

The results from more than a third of his home games as Barca coach would be good enough to at least force the game to extra time.

That record includes all three of Barca’s Champions League games this season as they dismantled Celtic (7-0), Manchester City (4-0) and Borussia Moenchengladbach (4-0).

– Suarez demands cool heads –

Luis Suarez was also bullish as he claimed if there is one team capable of mounting a historic comeback, it is Barcelona.

“We are aware that it is a difficult situation to turn the tie around, but in football nothing is impossible,” said Suarez.

“We have to be convinced that we can do it. If there is a team that can score four goals, I think it is Barcelona but with our philosophy of how to play and controlling the game.”

However, the Uruguayan striker pleaded for patience from an expectant near-100,000 fans at the Camp Nou.

An away goal for PSG would mean Barca would have to score at least six to have any chance of reaching the quarter-finals for a 10th straight season.

“We are aware that the game lasts 94 or 95 minutes and we have to be ambitious but also patient,” said Suarez.

“We hope that the fans understand and we are the first ones that want to make history, but we have to play with a cool head.”

PSG coach Unai Emery recognised the French champions will have to stand up to an intimating mix of the Camp Nou crowd and a fearsome Barca frontline containing Lionel Messi, Neymar and Suarez.

He called on his side to show the personality they demonstrated in tearing Barca apart at the Parc des Princes.

“In 90 minutes many things can happen because Barcelona are a great team,” said Emery, who has lost on all his previous 11 trips to the Camp Nou as coach of Almeria, Valencia, Spartak Moscow and Sevilla.

“The difference tomorrow is the atmosphere. We had the fans in our favour in Paris, tomorrow they will be for Barca. We must be able to keep our personality and our idea of ​​how to play.”

Barca are at full-strength with captain Andres Iniesta replacing either Rafinha or Ivan Rakitic likely to be the Enrique’s only change from the side that thrashed Celta at the weekend.

Fit-again PSG captain Thiago Silva will return for the visitors in the only expected change from the first leg.

Vía The Guardian Nigeria

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