Madrid: Barcelona coach Luis Enrique rejected suggestions his team had under-performed in their 2-0 win at 10-man Real Betis, which saw the Catalans move to within two wins of retaining the Primera Division title.
Barca played the final 55 minutes of the game with an extra man after Betis defender Heiko Westermann was sent off for two bookings, and Barca’s opening goal from Ivan Rakitic arrived after a misunderstanding between Betis defender German Pezzella and goalkeeper Antonio Adan.
An ecstatic Barca's Luis Suarez celebrates a goal during the La Liga match vs Real Betis in Sevilla on Saturday. Pic/AFP
Luis Suarez then made sure of the victory by scoring his 35th goal of the season with nine minutes remaining.
Barca beat Sporting Gijon 6-0 in their previous league game and thrashed Deportivo La Coruna 8-0 before then, and Luis Enrique reacted angrily to questions in a press conference that suggested Barca had not played well against Betis.
"What’s the problem, if you don’t win 8-0, does it not count? This is a very competitive league with three teams fighting for the title," he said.
Barca’s title rivals Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid kept the pressure on the Catalans by beating Rayo Vallecano and Real Sociedad respectively, but Barca will win the league title for a 24th time if they beat Espanyol next week and Granada on the final weekend of the season.
"Looking at the results I don’t think any of the three teams are going to slip up and it’s in our own hands," added Luis Enrique.
"I think people have become used to us being so good that they have lost sight of what competitive football is.
The first half was a bit of a battle but in the second half we were the better team and we were able to finish them off." — PA Sport