Football

Enrique: Fans' jeering doesn't make sense

Under-pressure Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has criticised fans jeering their own players during the team's 2-1 victory over Leganes yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Barca needed a last-gasp penalty from Lionel Messi to seal victory against a team lying 17th in the table and battling against relegation.

It was far from the emphatic response the Catalan giants had hoped for following last Tuesday's 4-0 humiliation by Paris St Germain in the Champions League, as Leganes looked on course for an unlikely draw when Unai Lopez cancelled out Messi's opener.

The atmosphere at the Nou Camp was fractious, with some fans whistling at both Enrique and midfielder Andre Gomes to express their dissatisfaction.

A section of Barca supporters also sang Enrique's name, which was then greeted with further disapproval.

"I accept that they whistle at me, that the fans are hurt because of Paris, but not that they whistle at the players," Enrique said.

"I do not understand. As a fan, whistling at a player from your own team does not make sense.

"Anyone can show their disagreement however they want. But, in the case of Andre, it annoys me.

"I understand those who have jeered me. I am the coach and, after a performance like the one in Paris, I have to accept the criticisms."

Enrique insisted before the game that he was not bothered with the speculation over his future, but his players delivered another shaky performance that will do little to ease the pressure on his position.

Barcelona are now only a point behind Real Madrid, but the league leaders have two games in hand over their rivals and Barca face a tough trip to Atletico Madrid this weekend.

Enrique admitted that his players are suffering from a lack of confidence after their heavy defeat at the Parc des Princes and said they became nervous as Leganes grew into the game.

"It was the scenario we expected," Enrique said.

"The team started well, wanting to reverse the situation. We started in the best way, with a goal and dominating.

EXORCISING THE GHOSTS

"But, as Leganes produced dangerous attacks, the ghosts appeared as you would expect after the defeat against PSG.

"They became emboldened and equalised.

"In the end, we have taken the match, which will give us moral and mental strength."

Enrique added: "Regardless of how the matches go, I see an impeccable and unbeatable attitude. Better than in the previous two years."

Messi, not for the first time this season, saved his side after Neymar was fouled in the box but the Argentinian's lack of celebration was conspicuous.

Enrique, however, would not be drawn on the striker's sombre reaction.

"I have not seen it and I am not the one who must answer," Enrique said. - PA SPORT

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