Barca boss expecting tough test against struggling Valencia

Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:14pm EDT
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By Richard Martin

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said Valencia's chaotic campaign is no reason to expect an easy game when the La Liga champions visit the Mestalla stadium on Saturday.

Valencia held Barca to a 1-1 draw last season at the Mestalla while Sergio Busquets' last-gasp goal secured a 1-0 victory for Luis Enrique's side in the previous campaign.

Fallen La Liga giants Valencia, who were Spanish champions in 2002 and 2004, have endured another season of upheaval, and sacked coach Pako Ayesteran having lost their first four games.

New boss Cesare Prandelli, however, got off to a winning start last week at Sporting Gijon.

"We're facing an unknown Valencia side because of the short time Prandelli has been in charge, and defensive organization and good positioning are his hallmarks," Luis Enrique told a news conference on Friday.

"Valencia's situation is not positive but the quality of their players means it can always be difficult for you.

"Playing away from home is always difficult and at Mestalla, with a vociferous support against you, it is even harder. I can't remember a single easy game there."

Barcelona thrashed their former manager Pep Guardiola's Manchester City 4-0 on Wednesday in the Champions League, but Luis Enrique has a shortage of options in defense for the trip to Valencia, with Sergi Roberto, Jordi Alba and Gerard Pique all injured.   Continued...

Football Soccer - FC Barcelona v Manchester City - UEFA Champions League Group Stage - Group C - The Nou Camp, Barcelona, Spain - 19/10/16
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique  
Reuters / Albert Gea