Luis Enrique had no problem with the jeers aimed at him by Barcelona supporters on Sunday, but was disappointed some of his players were also subject to abuse from the Camp Nou crowd.
Barca needed a 90th-minute penalty from Lionel Messi to beat Leganes 2-1 in a game which was played in a tense atmosphere following the midweek humiliation against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
Attempts to sing Luis Enrique’s name from the section behind one of the goals at Camp Nou were met with whistles from other parts of the stadium, while Andre Gomes was also the subject of fan discontent when he was taken off in the second half.
“I don’t understand the whistles at Andre Gomes,” Luis Enrique said in his postmatch news conference. “It doesn’t make sense to whistle your own team’s players, but each person can show their disagreement in the way they see apt.
“I understand the fans whistling me after the result the other day. That’s part of my job. That’s why I’m the manager and after what happened in Paris I accept the criticism. But not the players, that doesn’t help. They should be supported.”
Messi had opened the scoring against Leganes in the fourth minute, but the visitors responded after the break through Unai Lopez.
However, a late foul from Martin Mantovani on Neymar gave Messi the chance to score his second goal of the game — this time from the penalty spot. The Argentine made no mistake from 12 yards, handing Barca three points if not escaping the sensation that this was another off-colour performance from the Catalans.
“First of all, by winning games,” Luis Enrique responded when asked how he can get his team hitting the levels which saw them win a Treble and a double in his first two seasons in charge. “Even if it’s in the last minute like it was today.
“We’ve got some days to rest now and we’re going to evaluate the things we’ve done and what we have to improve. We have to give confidence to the players. The attitude is great, irreproachable. It’s better than in the last two years and I am convinced that the situation will improve.”
Sunday’s win ensured Barca kept within one point of league leaders Real Madrid, who have two games in hand on the rest of their title rivals.
With big games to come over the next week — Real travel to Valencia and Villarreal, while Barca play Atletico Madrid in the Spanish capital — Luis Enrique says dropped points against Leganes could have knocked his side out of the running to win La Liga.
“They were three valuable points,” he added. “Another slip up would have been almost definitive [in the title race], not in terms of points, but on an emotional level.”
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