Champions League

Luis Enrique plays down Iniesta's influence

2016-12-07 10:49
Andres Iniesta.(Getty Images)

Cape Town - Luis Enrique said that Andres Iniesta's comeback was not a big factor in their form after Barcelona eased past Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League.

When asked about Iniesta's passing numbers from their 4-0 win in their final group game on Tuesday, the Barca manager said: "Statistics in football sometimes make very little sense."

Iniesta came on as a substitute in their 1-1 draw against Real Madrid in the Clasico at the weekend and started their final Champions League group match after a six-week layoff due to injury.

He played nearly an hour as the manager gave time to players who have not had many recent opportunities, with their place atop Group C guaranteed before the match.

Barca won three of seven games while Iniesta was out and he was pivotal against Monchengladbach, completing 108 of 119 passes.

"Iniesta is a player capable of beating a man with the ball, finding passes between the lines ... he added what Iniesta always adds, but the team have had the same ideas as always," Enrique said.

"I am satisfied with the speed of the circulation of the ball. We played nearly the whole game in the opposition half."

Lionel Messi's 10th goal of this Champions League opened the scoring and Arda Turan scored a hat-trick.

"The players had a lot to lose, but I think it was one of the games we've been most precise in, in terms of ball circulation, which is good news."

Enrique said the team was aiming to capitalise on their form, especially at home.

"We want to continue in this manner and improve, above all, at Camp Nou."

All the Group C positions were set ahead of the final round, with Manchester City the other side to advance.

The draw for last-16 fixtures is to be made on Monday next week.

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