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Enrique wants Barcelona to turn up the heat

By Agence France-Presse in Barcelona | China Daily | Updated: 2014-12-10 07:27

Barcelona's hopes of beating Paris Saint-Germain and leapfrogging the French champion to finish atop its Champions League group rests on troubling the visitor's defense more than in the 3-2 loss in Paris, according to coach Luis Enrique.

PSG - which came from behind to beat Nantes 2-1 on Saturday and remains the only unbeaten team in the major European leagues - tops the table by a point and a draw will suffice to see it win its Champions League group for the third straight season.

Barcelona, which prevailed in a tightly-fought quarterfinal between the teams in the 2012-13 campaign, progressing on away goals, enters the game on the back of a crushing 5-1 derby win over Espanyol, in which Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick.

However, Enrique, who played with PSG coach Laurent Blanc at Barcelona, said his forward line will have to be more clinical than it was in the loss in Paris.

"I hope PSG's defense will suffer a little more at Camp Nou than was the case in the first game," said the 44-year-old, who took over after Gerardo Martino was fired following a trophyless season last term.

"I hope that we will deserve the victory, and the only way to do that is by showing our superiority on the pitch."

For Enrique, who played for both Real Madrid and Barca in his career, the match with PSG is the type of challenge he relishes and gives his players a test of their ability to beat the best.

"For us, the match against Paris Saint-Germain is a marvelous match, indeed it is perfect for us," he said.

"It presents us with an opportunity to beat the team that is the leader in the group, and who beat us in the first meeting.

"We know whatever the score is, a win is enough for us and we are going to rise to the occasion as we have done since the beginning of the season."

Enrique, who began his coaching career with the Barcelona B team before spells with Serie A side Roma and then Spaniards Celta Vigo, warned his team would not be able to throw caution to the wind, especially with former Barca striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic facing them.

"They have got Ibrahimovic back, and several other important players were rested ahead of this game," said the coach. "I am expecting a side not unlike the the one we played in Paris, with lots of attacking possibilities."

Enrique is likely to keep Dutch goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, as he has done throughout the Champions Leaue campaign, but will hope he is more on his game than he was in Paris.

Laurent Blanc will have virtually a full deck to choose from in terms of personnel but the former France national coach is praying his players will not be as distracted as they have been at times in Ligue 1 this season - including against Nantes.

"We will have to be much more aggressive and determined in Barcelona," said Blanc.

"I managed this match (against Nantes) with one eye on the next game. It's OK because we won, but sometimes we are playing with fire."

The good news for Blanc is that despite his long layoff Ibrahimovic has not lost his scoring sharpness, as illustrated by his brace against Nantes.

"Even an Ibra at 90 percent is a handful for most teams," said the club's Brazilian captain Thiago Silva.

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