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Hoops will be City slicker this time, predicts Enrique

By Ronnie Esplin

Published 23/11/2016

Wrap up warm: Lionel Messi (left) and Luis Suarez at Barcelona’s training session at Celtic Park last night
Wrap up warm: Lionel Messi (left) and Luis Suarez at Barcelona’s training session at Celtic Park last night

Luis Enrique is not expecting another Champions League walkover when his Barcelona side face Celtic tonight. Barca thrashed the Hoops 7-0 in their opening Group C clash in September and are expected to complete the double against Ulsterman Brendan Rodgers' side to clinch qualification with one game remaining.

Enrique straight-batted a question about Lionel Messi being linked with the group's second-placed side Manchester City by simply saying: "I don't know".

However, the former Spain international expects to see a Celtic side who battled out a 3-3 draw with the English club at Parkhead at the end of September, as opposed to the one which collapsed in Catalonia.

Enrique said: "It is going to be a different game completely.

"We have to be ready for everything.

"It is good to score early in all games but Celtic need points so they will come out but again I say it will be different, it will be nothing like the game we had before.

"The Camp Nou is not a reference, what will be a reference is the game against Manchester City."

Enrique expects Messi to recover from the illness which kept him out of Saturday's goalless draw with Malaga. He added: "Lionel is always ready to play and I am sure he will be ready."

Meanwhile, Gerard Pique will recover from a knock he picked up at the weekend, with Luis Suarez returning from suspension.

The Barca boss, speaking through an interpreter at Celtic Park before Barcelona trained, is looking for his side to enjoy what is sure to be another great European atmosphere as the Hoops, bottom of the group with two points, look for an unlikely win.

He said: "Players always want to play in a great atmosphere.

"The atmosphere is everything, the Celtic fans travel in numbers, they are a fantastic support here and away.

"Above all football is really about enjoying it.

"I just ask my players to go and enjoy it and if we do we will qualify for the next round."

Meanwhile, Celtic captain Scott Brown insists bravery will be key to success against Barcelona.

Brown revealed Rodgers was trying to get the Scottish champions to copy the best aspects of Barcelona and hopes they can put that philosophy into action.

The midfielder said: "They just seem to be getting better and better, the way they play is fantastic, it's great to watch.

"It's all about how we can control our patience and relax and try to keep the ball the best we can because that is their game and that is what we want to try and get up to.

"The way the gaffer wants us to play as well, it's pretty much based on the Barcelona way.

"We know we can play, well we just need to be patient with the ball and be brave as well.

"It is bravery on the ball. They are going press us up the park, which is what we plan to do as well.

"We just have to minimise them to as few chances and as few touches of the ball as we possibly can.

"We have got to believe in ourselves and attack them when we can and hopefully create a few chances here and there," Brown added.

Belfast Telegraph

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