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Aug 31, 2014

Luis Enrique hails Barcelona spirit after win at Villarreal

ESPN FC's Sid Lowe discusses whether or not Lionel Messi is back to his best and what elements Messi may still need to shine again.

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said it was "exciting" to see his team's will to win after Sunday's tight 1-0 victory at Villarreal.

- Ledwith: Hard-fought victory for Barcelona

Both sides hit the woodwork twice before youngster Sandro knocked home the winner from close range with eight minutes remaining, giving Barca another three points and keeping them top of the Primera Division table.

The Blaugrana coach told his postmatch news conference that the signs were positive after his first two games in charge.

"This result will be good for us and reinforces all we have seen during the preseason," he said. "Leaving here without conceding any goal makes me satisfied.

"The attitude has been, and is, bestial. The players want to return to showing what they have been for many years. The sensations are all positive for the moment. We have a lot of things to improve, but they are very motivated and for me it is a privilege. We have done nothing yet, but it is exciting."

Sandro's goal on the 19-year-old's first senior appearance came after fellow substitute Neymar and Lionel Messi had combined to open up the home defence.

"It is nice to see the kids scoring, but what really tastes good is the victory, with everyone fighting for the same end," Enrique said.

"If Sandro scores the goal, then that is good for us too. [He and Neymar] were players to freshen things up. They also achieved many more chances thanks to the quality of Leo."

The former Barca midfielder also paid tribute to the performance of right-back Dani Alves, who was whistled by home supporters at the ground where he had a banana thrown at him last season, saying: "He played a spectacular game in the second half."

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