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Luis Enrique defends Neymar
Neymar has taken aim at the fans who jeered Barcelona during their Champions League clash with Bayer Leverkusen.
“It’s a shame for football“, Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voeller said. “You simply like to watch him play“.
20-year-old Munir looks set to deputise alongside Luis Suarez and Neymar and even though it remains a formidable forward line, there certainly isn’t as much fear factor than one with Messi in it.
Barca coach Luis Enrique believes his team can prosper in adversity, starting in tonight’s Champions League Group E match.
“It’s the second game of the group stage and we want to win to send a message out to the people that we’re here”.
The news that stole the headlines around the world after the weekend of European games was the injury to three-time Ballon d’Or victor Lionel Messi.
“They can not just step up their game because Messi is not there”. Enrique also said Barca would remain competitive despite the rash of injuries and hit back at the disgruntled fans, saying the players deserved greater respect.
“The idea will not change”.
“Time is in his favour”.
Midfielder Ivan Rakitic is also hopeful that Messi’s absence will act as a spur for his teammates to take more responsiblity in the coming weeks.
“Messi’s injury affects us a lot”.
Bayer reacted to news that Messi won’t play today due a left knee injury suffered against Las Palmas days ago. We evaluate our options and aim to be as risky as possible.
In a statement released by Barca, it confirmed that the injury was so serious that it would require Messi to rest up to two months.
“We had unbelievable chances in the first half, too”.
He did, however, supply Suarez with an assist against Las Palmas – the Uruguayan’s fifth goal in nine matches.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema from Real Madrid and Nilito from Celta de Vigo had scored 5 each goals of the season after 6 match. We didn’t need the support of the fans when we were winning 2-1, we needed their support when we were losing 1-0 and we need the support of everybody.
Kevin Kampl missed two good chances before Leverkusen’s opener, and but for a poor finish by Wendell after skipping past Gerard Pique 10 minutes before the break, the visitors could have extended their lead.
Leverkusen’s strategy was clear from the start as pressured Barcelona up the pitch instead of hunkering down in its area.