Luis Enrique pleased with fringe players after big win over Osasuna

26 April 2017 11:24

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique was pleased with how his fringe players performed after Osasuna were put to the sword at the Nou Camp.

Enrique rested several of his regular starters, including Luis Suarez, Andres Iniesta and Jordi Alba - an understandable move following gruelling matches against Juventus and Real Madrid, and before the weekend's derby at Espanyol.

The likes of Lucas Digne, Andre Gomes, Denis Suarez and Paco Alcacer were given a chance to impress and Gomes and Alcacer in particular took it with each getting his name on the scoresheet twice in a 7-1 rout.

Lionel Messi was a third, and more predictable, player to also score twice while Javier Mascherano scored his first Barcelona goal since signing for the club almost seven years ago.

Roberto Torres' lovely free-kick shortly after half-time made it 2-1 but in the end it was mere consolation for bottom-of-the-table Osasuna, who hours after the defeat had their relegation confirmed by Leganes' 3-0 home win against Las Palmas.

"Today was a chance for players who figure less. The game started well for us and we were in control but a mistake in the second half let Osasuna into the game," Enrique told the club's official website, fcbarcelona.com.

"We maintained our intensity and rhythm and we fixed things quickly.

"We have to be aware of the need to pick up points. From the month of May we will have time to recover and there are lots of positives today."

Mascherano emphatically dispatched the penalty to score in his 320th match for Barcelona.

"The fans behind the goal were chanting for Mascherano to take it. I am happy for him - he is a key player for the club and he has shown that down the years," added Enrique.

Mascherano gave in to popular demand after Ivan Rakitic decided not to take the spot kick.

He said: "At first I tried to get out of it but under pressure from my team-mates and the crowd I decided to take it on.

"It would have been a fun moment to remember in years to come had I missed it. I wasn't sure about it at all but it was difficult to say no to my team-mates."

Despite the comprehensive win, Barcelona only remain top of La Liga on goal difference after rivals Real Madrid responded in the late kick-off with an equally comprehensive 6-2 victory at Deportivo La Coruna.

Source: PA


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