Luis Enrique admits Pique's dismissal ended Barcelona's Sextuple dream
Following a 4-0 thrashing at the San Mames last week, the defending European champions had a huge mountain to climb in front of their home fans
Barcelona manager Luis Enrique believes that defender Gerard Pique’s dismissal in the second leg of the Supercopa De Espana concluded their hopes of making any kind of a comeback against Athletic Bilbao.
The Blaugranas’ aspirations to conquer another sextuple took a big blow on Monday following a 5-1 defeat on aggregate against the Basque side. Following a 4-0 thrashing at the San Mames last week, the defending European champions had a huge mountain to climb in front of their home fans which meant that Messi and co had to be at the top of their game in order to overturn this huge deficit.
And Enrique’s men looked on course to make a comeback as Messi made it 1-0 just before the half time whistle to give his side a huge confidence boost heading into the dressing room. However, Pique’s red card in the 56th minute turned out to be a big blow for the Camp Nou outfit who were reduced to 10-men and Aduriz’s equaliser 16 minutes from time handed Athletic club their first trophy in 31 years.
‘It all ended when Pique was sent off’
Talking to reporters after the match Enrique pointed out that his side’s chances of overturning the result faded away after Pique was given his marching orders.
"I think we played very well," he said. "We got Athletic doubting and I could see our opponents were starting to worry. That's what we were after in this game. We competed and made a huge effort.
"But it all ended when Gerard Pique was sent off.”
But the former Roma manager was quick to congratulate Athletic for putting on a fine performance and outplaying his team over the two legs.
"I can only say well done to Athletic for such a fine performance. Sometimes it’s good to lose in order to appreciate how hard it is to win," he said.
"The team is united and competitive. There is a very tough league campaign ahead of us. We want to keep bringing joy to the fans and we want to carry on being a team that sets standards around the world."
Pedro situation frustrating admits Enrique
Enrique also revealed how tired he has grown regarding the Pedro transfer saga. The Barcelona winger has been linked with a move to Premier League giants Manchester United and it has been reported that both clubs have reached an agreement over the player. However, Neymar’s absence from the squad due to mumps prompted Enrique to use Pedro for the UEFA Supercup and Spanish Supercup games which put the deal temporarily on hold.
But the former Celta Vigo boss has revealed that he has been frustrated with the transfer situation and he is waiting for the summer window to shut down on August 31.
"It's a difficult situation, it's hard to be focused," he added.
"I am just hoping that this damned transfer window closes once and for all to know which players I can count on. But Pedro gave his all."
Barcelona will have a chance at redemption when they meet Athletic Bilbao for the third time already on August 23, as they kick off their La Liga campaign away at the Basque country.