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Enrique: Barça not into final yet

luis-enrique-barcaBarcelona coach Luis Enrique is cautiously optimistic that his side will reach the Copa del Rey final. The Catalan outfit beat Villarreal 3-1 in Wednesday’s semi-final first leg at the Nou Camp.

Barça’s advantage could have been greater going into next month’s return leg at El Madrigal had Neymar not seen his second-half penalty saved.

“I think we played a very good game,” Luis Enrique told his club’s official website. “We did well in attack and also at the defensive end.

“I believe it’s a good result but it does not decide the tie. It could have been better had we converted the penalty but it’s nevertheless a good result for us.”

Barça, who are looking to lift the Copa for a record 27th time, face Villarreal in the return leg on 4 March.

“This result is not going to change our approach at Villarreal,” Luis Enrique said. “We will try to mentally prepare the players that over confidence can kill you. My players are intelligent and already know that.

“I predict a very difficult return leg. Our aim will not be to score a goal there but rather to win the game. I’m certain Villarreal will make life difficult for us.”

Barça return to La Liga action on Sunday when they host Malaga. The Catalan outfit, which are one point adrift of leaders Real Madrid in La Liga, travel to England next week for their UEFA Champions League last 16 meeting with Manchester City.

Two months ago it looked like Barca’s season was over after a run of poor results. But as we enter the final quarter of the season Barca are still well positioned to win the treble and Luis Enrique deserves a lot of credit for how he has turned this team and season around.