The problem is there’s no one like Iniesta

Barcelona take on Eibar this Sunday evening in the final match of the LaLiga season’s first round, but they will have to do so without Andres Iniesta, which Luis Enrique finds problematic since he considers the midfielder irreplaceable.

The captain suffered a knock in Thursday’s Copa del Rey win over Real Sociedad and he had to be substituted at half-time, while his absence also gives his coach a selection headache this weekend.

“Nobody in our squad or in world football is like Iniesta, and that’s the problem,” he replied when asked which player might be best suited to fill in for the captain.

“I have a lot of good players in that position, but I’ve not seen anyone in the world like Iniesta.

“Yet it doesn’t change our plans at all.

“We always have the same objective, no matter which players we have available.”

Having delivered a convincing display last weekend against Las Palmas, the Asturian is keen to follow that 5-0 victory up with another win, stressing how important it is for the Blaugrana to develop some momentum.

“All season long we’ve been looking to put together a run of good results, but it hasn’t happened,” reporters at his pre-match press conference were told.

“I hope it happens as we need consecutive victories to put pressure [on Real Madrid].

“Even though the first two results weren’t the ones we deserved, I’m very happy with the performances we’ve had since the start of 2017.”

Asked if the Catalan side needs a win away at Real Madrid to make a comeback in the league, Luis Enrique was not impressed.

“Does that mean that if we win at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, but not any other match then we’ll be champions?” he joked.

“I don’t know.”

For now, the coach is focusing on one match at a time and in order to secure a second consecutive league win, Barcelona will need to overcome an Eibar side that sat in ninth place ahead of this weekend of action.

“Listening to [Jose Luis] Mendilibar, it seems obvious that they will remain true to the style that has got them to where they are in LaLiga,” he explained.

“As Mendilibar said, they’re going to pressure us.

“They always make it difficult, play well in possession and are dangerous from the wings with players like Pedro Leon.

“We hope the weather allows for a good game.”

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