Madrid: Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has backed Luis Suarez to come good in front of goal despite the Uruguayan's paltry record of two league goals since becoming the most expensive signing in the club's history.
Suarez has only made 15 appearances in all competitions since his reported Â£75 million ($114 million, 98 million euros) move from Liverpool in July after serving a four-month ban for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup. However, since his return he has failed to show the same form that saw him register 31 Premier League goals last season.
Suarez missed two glorious chances as Lionel Messi stole the headlines with his 30th hat-trick for the club as Barca eased past Deportivo la Coruna 4-0 on Sunday, but Enrique praised Suarez's work rate and insisted his class will ensure a return to goalscoring form sooner rather than later. "Luis Suarez looks fine to me," Enrique said ahead of his side's Copa del Rey quarter-final, first leg against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.
"He is working incredibly hard and helping us a lot both in attack and defence. "The goals will come for sure because he is a goalscorer and has shown that throughout his career." One of Suarez's two La Liga goals came against Atletico just over a week ago when Barca turned in arguably their best performance of the campaign to beat the Spanish champions 3-1.
The pressure had been mounting on Enrique prior to that game with reports of Messi leading a dressing room coup against the former Barca captain. However, he shrugged off suggestions that his position could be back under the spotlight should the Catalans fail to produce a repeat performance against Diego Simeone's men. "I don't have the feeling that tomorrow my job is on the line. All we are playing for is to get through a tie against an opponent that will demand we play at our best level.
"On an emotional level it helps us that we were able to beat them after not doing so six times last season, but I don't think it will influence too much what happens on the pitch." Enrique will be able to call on the experience of Xavi Hernandez after overcoming a calf injury that has kept him out of the last four games, but defender Jeremy Mathieu remains out.