Luis Enrique savours brilliance of ‘glorious’ Barcelona
Barca coach says 4-0 win at Bernabeu will ‘go down in history’
FC Barcelona’s midfielder Andres Iniesta (L) scores the 0-3 lead against Real Madrid’s Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas (C) during the Spanish Liga Primera Division match at Santiago Bernabeu stadium Photograph: JuanJo Martin/EPA
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique savoured a “glorious” El Clasico victory as he claimed his side’s performance in their 4-0 thrashing of Real Madrid at the Bernabeu would “go down in history”.
With Lionel Messi only fit enough to start the match on the bench following an eight-week injury lay-off, Barca made light work of Rafa Benitez’s men.
Luis Suarez gave the visitors an 11th-minute lead, Neymar doubled the advantage before the break and in the second period Andres Iniesta scored a goal worthy of his all-action performance.
Suarez added a fourth, following a pass from substitute Messi. “This victory tastes glorious because it is against our eternal rivals and, as well as the victory, it will be very difficult for us to better this performance,” Luis Enrique said. “This game will go down in history, it will be remembered by all Barcelona fans. This squad won the treble last year and it is one of the best squads you could hope for.”
Although the victory took Barcelona six points ahead of Madrid at the top of La Liga, the coach was careful to not suggest his side were the favourites to win the title.
“There is still a long way to go and this is by no means decisive, but we leave here feeling very, very satisfied,” he said.
“Winning like this against players of such a high level is difficult, but we managed to pull off what we were hoping to do throughout the game. I don’t think Real Madrid gave up, I just think we were a level above them and we outnumbered them in many areas of the game and we were very effective. The game is more of a reflection of our merits than Madrid’s faults.”
The coach also explained the decision to wait until the 57th minute before introducing Messi.
He added: “I decided it during the week and I wanted to get feedback from him and it was a relatively easy decision to make, and Leo also understood it.”
Benitez called for his side to react quickly to a second successive league defeat, this humiliation following the 3-2 reverse to Sevilla a fortnight ago.
“We are all to blame and now we need to unite and work hard. The thing I’m concerned about the most is recovering the team’s spirit,” he said.
“Losing like this and against a rival like Barcelona hurts us a lot. We just have to unite and work hard to get three points from our next game so we can stay in the fight for the title.
“We did start how we wanted to. Our aim was to attack, put pressure on them and win the ball back high up the pitch.
“We did it on occasion, but at other moments we couldn’t and we were made to pay. We picked a team of top quality and experienced players, but it did not go well.
“When I pick a team I try to manage the squad I have in the best way I can and the team I put out was capable of a lot more quality.
“We are all responsible, but now we have to recover from this and try and give the fans something to celebrate, something we weren’t able to do today.”