February 6, 2017 / 2:26 PM / 8 months ago

Home fans vital for Barca to reach Cup final, coach says

Football Soccer - Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao - Spanish La Liga Santander - Camp Nou stadium, Barcelona, Spain, 04/02/17 Barcelona's coach Luis Enrique Martinez reacts in the bench before match. REUTERS/Albert Gea

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona coach Luis Enrique is looking for the team’s fans to push it through against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday, when the Catalan club will try to reach the King’s Cup final for a fourth straight year.

“I‘m convinced we will need the support of our fans,” Luis Enrique said in a news conference Monday. “We hope it will be a special day for us.”

Samuel Umtiti, Jordi Alba and Lionel Messi are one booking away from suspension, but Luis Enrique says his players will not hold back.

“I don’t believe it will condition them, because they are experts when it comes to these types of games,” he said. “Besides, our main aim is to progress.”

Barca have won the Cup a record 28 times, including the last two seasons under Luis Enrique.

“Since the start of the season, we have set our aims to the top, to win all the competitions,” he said. “It would be the cherry on the cake to beat a very difficult rival like Atletico and reach the final.”

Atletico, who have not won at Barcelona since a 3-1 victory on Feb. 5, 2006, need to score at least two goals to progress.

“I hope Atletico have to wait one year more to win here,” Luis Enrique said.

Goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi gave Barca a 2-1 win in last week’s first leg in Madrid. The team are now undefeated in their last nine matches in all competitions.

Saturday’s 3-0 home victory over Athletic Bilbao kept them second in La Liga and closed the gap to one point on leaders Real Madrid, who have played two fewer games.

With Neymar suspended, Luis Suarez is expected to return to the starting 11 after resting at the weekend, one of six changes Luis Enrique made.

Gerard Pique has recovered from a thigh injury suffered against Athletic and trained on Monday.

Reporting by Adriana Garcia, editing by Larry King

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below