Luis Enrique: Barcelona loss to Juventus not down to my tactics
Luis Enrique says Barcelona's 3-0 defeat to Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday was not a result of tactical failings on his part.
Following the loss in Turin, local media criticised the Barca coach for his decision to start Jeremy Mathieu in the back three and to push Javier Mascherano into midfield for the suspended Sergio Busquets.
Luis Enrique appeared to acknowledge the mistakes himself at the Juventus Stadium, replacing Mathieu with Andre Gomes at half-time and allowing Mascherano to drop back into defence.
However, speaking at a news conference on Friday ahead of Saturday's La Liga game against Real Sociedad, he refused to blame his side's misgivings on tactical flaws.
"I am in charge and I am responsible for the bad things which happen to the team," Luis Enrique said. "If I didn't get my ideas across to the players it's because [I was] incapable. I get angry when I don't reach my objectives. But in Turin I did not make a single tactical error."
Luis Enrique was downbeat after the Juve game -- even more so than after the 4-0 first-leg defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the previous round -- and effectively almost threw in the towel in his postmatch interview with TV3.
But having had three days to reflect on events in Italy, he made a U-turn on Friday and suggested Barca are capable of producing another remarkable comeback, having beat PSG 6-5 on aggregate to reach the quarterfinals.
"People tend to take comments straight after games very literally, but they're conditioned by what has just happened," he said in reference to suggesting a turnaround against Juve would not be possible. "We're professionals; we know things can change quickly. I have no doubt that we have a chance to turn around the tie -- look what happened after Paris.
"It's about getting back to winning ways and doing things right, starting with [Real Sociedad] on Saturday. Then we will think about the Champions League."
In a long news conference which focused on the fallout from the Juve game, Luis Enrique said this is not the worst moment during his three years in charge, but did not want to refer to his preseason comments that this is the best squad he has ever had at his disposal.
"At the start of the season I wanted to give you quotes you like, surprise you a little," he said. "Now you bring them back out ... the answer is simple: I will answer that at the end of the season."
Before facing Juve on Wednesday, Barca welcome Sociedad to the Camp Nou on Saturday. They will be without Neymar, who is serving a three-game ban, while Mascherano and Arda Turan are both fitness doubts.
"The players only have the Real Sociedad game on their mind," Luis Enrique said when asked if Juve's visit could be a distraction. "The players have played against La Real, they know the difficulties they represent. Our chances of winning the league hinge on doing well tomorrow."
After last week's 2-0 defeat to Malaga, Barca could be six points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid by the time they kick off on Saturday, with Zinedine Zidane's side due to play away at Sporting Gijon earlier in the day.
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.