Enrique wants titles, not records as Barca beat Sevilla

BARCELONA • Barcelona manager Luis Enrique insists he will only be satisfied when his side delivers another Primera Liga title after equalling a Spanish record by stretching their unbeaten run to 34 games.

The Catalan club were forced to come from behind against Sevilla on Sunday as a brilliant Lionel Messi free kick and Gerard Pique's winner overcame Vitolo's early strike for the visitors.

The 2-1 victory restored Barca's eight-point lead over Atletico Madrid at the top of the table, with arch-rivals Real Madrid 12 points adrift after losing 0-1 to Atletico on Saturday. It is Real's record of 34 unbeaten games from the 1988-89 season that will fall if Barca avoid defeat at Rayo Vallecano on Thursday.

"The record tells me nothing. If we win titles, then fine. But if not, it doesn't tell me a thing," said Enrique. "We have wanted to retain the title since the first day of the season. That is the primary objective and we are in a better position. Now we need to win the points necessary to be champions."

Barca have been far from their brilliant best in many of their recent league games with fatigue starting to set in from an already-gruelling campaign of 46 games across six competitions.

However, Pique highlighted their resolve to put themselves on the brink of a sixth league title in eight years.

"We have suffered against Las Palmas, Malaga and other matches, but we have managed to win the games," said the Spanish defender. "I think you win leagues if you can suffer and continue to win."

Sevilla have caused Barca problems in three games this season.

Enrique's side had to produce their top game to win the Uefa Super Cup 5-4 after extra time in their first game of the campaign, before Sevilla inflicted Barca's last defeat in all competitions back in October.

"I think they are the opponents who play us best," said Enrique.

The sides will meet for a fourth time in the King's Cup final on May 22 and Sevilla manager Unai Emery admitted Sevilla need to be almost perfect to lift the Cup at the Vicente Calderon.

"You have to get the fine details right to get close to them," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2016, with the headline 'Enrique wants titles, not records as Barca beat Sevilla'. Print Edition | Subscribe