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Oct 29, 2013

Luis Enrique hopes for Barcelona upset

Celta Vigo coach Luis Enrique says he hopes his former side Barcelona have an off day when they meet on Tuesday night.

Tomas: Out-of-shape Messi

Celta are currently 15th in the table but were boosted by last weekend’s 5-0 win at Malaga, while Barca top the Primera Division standings following Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Real Madrid.

Enrique, who played for Barcelona for eight years and managed their B team between 2008 and 2011, said his Celta side would need to be at their very best to get something from the game at Balaidos.

“To have a chance to win they have to have a slow day and we have to play at our best,” Enrique said. “For us it is a very nice challenge to take on one of the best teams in the world.”

Enrique suggested that he might have a trick up his sleeve to help Celta get a result.

“I would not take a draw now,” he said. “Maybe afterwards that would be a great result, but we go into the game with a winning mentality. They are very strong, but football is a sport that can surprise you. A game can be won in many different ways. I would like to have more possession than Barca, but that is difficult.”

Enrique, who was reportedly one of the names considered by the Barca board when Tito Vilanova stepped down in the summer, said Gerardo Martino had settled in well at the Camp Nou.

“They have a new coach, who is trying to change some things, but I do not believe that Barcelona are at a lower level than in recent years,” Enrique said. “Their numbers are more than outstanding. The big clubs play for trophies from March -- that will be the moment to judge his performance.”

Former Barcelona youngsters Nolito and Andreu Fontas, and on-loan Rafinha Alcantara, will be looking to impress on Tuesday.

Winger Nolito, who played at Barca B under Enrique and made five senior appearances under Pep Guardiola in 2010-11 before leaving for Benfica, said for him the current Blaugrana side had not reached the level set a few years back.

“It will be special,” Nolito, 27, said. “I was there for three very good years, and they gave me the chance to debut with the first team.

“This Barcelona is not at the level of Guardiola’s side, but that level is very difficult to keep up. Barcelona is the best team in the world -- they have players of so much quality like [Andres] Iniesta, Xavi [Hernandez] and [Lionel] Messi who can decide a game in any moment.”

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