Football: Iniesta backs coach despite fan outcry

Barcelona's Andres Iniesta acknowledged the defending Primera Liga champions were rattled after the defeat to PSG but backed the coach and team to restore the side's winning mentality.
Barcelona's Andres Iniesta acknowledged the defending Primera Liga champions were rattled after the defeat to PSG but backed the coach and team to restore the side's winning mentality.PHOTO: REUTERS

BARCELONA (REUTERS) - Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta and the club's president have rallied behind coach Luis Enrique after fans vented their frustration at a tough week with boos during their 2-1 La Liga home win over Leganes on Sunday.

Just days after a 4-0 drubbing by Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in their Champions League last-16 first leg tie, Barcelona needed Lionel Messi to convert a 90th minute penalty to beat struggling Leganes.

Iniesta acknowledged the defending Primera Liga champions were rattled after the defeat to PSG but backed the coach and team to restore the side's winning mentality.

"We have not lost confidence in ourselves or in the manager," Iniesta told reporters after his 400th league match for Barca.

"I think it's a one-off situation we're going through." Iniesta said it was understandable the team carried a Champions League hangover into the Leganes match.

"We knew it was going to be difficult after what happened in Paris," the Spain international said.

"We're humans and these things affect us."

Barcelona sit second in the league table, a point behind arch rivals Real Madrid who have two games in hand.

Barca have also earned a place in the Copa del Rey final in late May against Alaves.

Enrique has steered Barcelona to eight titles since taking over in 2014, but the thrashing by PSG marked the biggest humiliation of his coaching career.

Enrique's contract expires this summer, but Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said he had no intention at this stage to search for a new coach.

"In the last few years, he has won almost all competitions," Bartomeu told reporters.

"The Barca supporters are very happy with him."

"We will speak to him in April to see how he feels," Bartomeu said.

"The priority is still for Luis Enrique to continue."