Luis Enrique: Alaves defeat is my responsibility

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The Barcelona coach refused to blame his players for the shock 2-1 reverse at Camp Nou, admitting their opponents had sprung a tactical surprise

Luis Enrique says he must shoulder the blame for Barcelona’s shock 2-1 defeat to newly promoted Deportivo Alaves at Camp Nou on Saturday.

The coach kept Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez on the bench with an eye on Tuesday’s Champions League clash against Celtic, but handed a start to Neymar following his return from the Olympic Games.

The Brazilian’s presence – and the introduction of his other attacking stars from the bench – was not enough to secure a result, however, after Alaves twice took the lead through Deyverson and Ibai Gomez.

And Luis Enrique was happy to admit that his counterpart Mauricio Pellegrino had sprung a tactical surprise he did not see coming.

“It all pointed to us as being the favourite, but this stumbling serves to remind [us] how hard it is to land a victory,” he told reporters.

“In the victories there is talk of key individual players, but in the defeats there is only the talk about the coach.

“I am responsible for the defeat. A defeat that serves to make us learn and think. We were wrong, inaccurate – they scored two goals from three attempts.

“I am the head of all the bad things that happen. Many of the changes were a result of circumstances that surround us. I try to get the best out of all my team.

“I had not had contemplated the option Alaves played with, 5-4-1, he [Pellegrino] had not used it up to now. It was difficult for us against opponents [who] we have to congratulate.”

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