Barcelona boss Luis Enrique wary of Athletic Bilbao threat

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique

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Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has assured fans he is aware of the threats which Athletic Bilbao have in their arsenal, as his side travel to San Mames on Sunday.

Barcelona have endured a stop-start campaign but the Catalans now appear to have found their rhythm under the 44-year-old, having won nine of their last ten games across all competitions.

Their last La Liga game was a 3-2 home defeat of Villarreal, after twice coming from behind before Lionel Messi scored what proved to be the winning goal with just over 30 minutes left on the clock.

The resiliency shown in that game is a trait Enrique is keen to build on with the Catalans, as he ensured fans they will not take the challenge of Bilbao lightly, having dropped points in their last three visits to San Mames.

“Valverde and Athletic, we know them very well. They can make things difficult for us in different facets of the game,” said Enrique.

“They are a difficult team, they create a lot of pressure. They’re not going to give us two seconds on the ball to relax. They got off to a bit of a bad start. There’s also the fact they were playing in the Champions League, which puts a lot of demands on the squad. I think that possibly had an effect on them.”

He added: “But I’ve always been a big fan of Athletic Bilbao’s football and their philosophy and I think their performances have improved. It’s always difficult to play at Bilbao so we’re going to have to play very well to get through this game.”

The Catalans are favourites to scalp an away victory at the San Mames at a price of 1.35, with the draw at 5.09 and a Bilbao win at 8.87.

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