Last month, the Catalan giants appeared to be cruising to the title, but an unexpected slump by Enrique’s side—coupled with the relentless consistency of Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid—has opened up the championship race as we approach the final furlong.
Indeed, rarely has the run-in been as thrilling in Spain, with Barca and Atleti level on points with only two games to go, and Real just one point behind in third.
The Madrid duo sneaked narrow 1-0 wins against Real Sociedad and Rayo Vallecano on Saturday to keep the pressure on Barca, who saw off Real Betis 2-0 away.
However, it wasn’t a truly convincing performance by the reigning European champions, who enjoyed a one-man advantage following Heiko Westermann’s 35th-minute red card, but took over 50 minutes to score.
Ivan Rakitic broke the deadlock, before Luis Suarez added a late second nine minutes before the end of the match.
Speaking after the match, Enrique fumed when questioned by journalists about his side’s perceived underperformance.
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“What’s the problem?” the coach lashed out to assembled journalists, as per Reuters in the Mail Online. “If you don’t win 8-0 doesn’t it count?
“This is a very competitive league, with three teams fighting for the title,” he continued. “Looking at the results, I don’t think any of the three teams are going to slip up. It’s in our own hands.”