Barcelona coach Luis Enrique believes his team can handle the huge pressure on their shoulders after a dreadful run of form that has seen them squander a huge lead in La Liga.

The reigning Spanish champions were nine points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top of the table at the start of this month, but consecutive defeats against Real Madrid, Real Sociedad and Valencia have wiped that out.

Now they are only ahead of Atletico thanks to a superior head-to-head record, while Real Madrid lurk just one point back ahead of a midweek round of games.

“I take comfort from my players. They are used to playing under maximum pressure. But we are in a situation where our opponents are punishing us without doing much,” said Luis Enrique at a press conference ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Deportivo.

“It is in our hands, but obviously we are in maximum difficulty. We must resolve our problems. It is always difficult to win away from home, all the more so in our situation,” added the coach, whose side were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Depor in December having been two goals up.

“All that interests me is being better than Deportivo tomorrow (Wednesday). Beyond that, if we win our match we will move on to the next one and try to grow in confidence.”

There are five games left in La Liga, with Barcelona’s run-in seeing them host struggling Sporting Gijon and city rivals Espanyol and go to both Betis and Granada.

“If we manage to turn this around and be champions, I can’t imagine how big a party we are going to have, but first we need to win our matches,” added Luis Enrique. – Agence France-Presse

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