Treble-chasing Barca riding high before crucial run

MADRID (Reuters) – Fired by the goals of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, treble-chasing Barcelona are riding high before four games over 10 days that could make or break coach Luis Enrique’s first season in charge.

\n

Photo

\n

Wednesday’s 4-0 La Liga victory over Almeria, which maintained their four-point advantage over Real Madrid at the top, was a more than satisfactory warm-up for Saturday’s game at fifth-placed Sevilla.

\n

The clash at the Sanchez Pizjuan is followed by the two-legged Champions League quarter-final against Paris St Germain, with a La Liga match at home to fourth-placed Valencia in between.

\n

Barca became the first Spanish side to win a treble of domestic league and Cup and Champions League under Luis Enrique’s former team mate Pep Guardiola in 2008-09 and are well placed to repeat the feat after winning 20 of 22 matches this year.

\n

They will seek a record-extending 27th King’s Cup triumph when they play Athletic Bilbao in the final at their own Nou Camp stadium in late May.

\n

Messi has been on scintillating form in 2015, while Suarez, who scored the winner in last month’s 2-1 La Liga ‘Clasico’ win at home to Real, netted two more on Wednesday.

\n

Forward Neymar has been off colour recently and was rested for the Almeria game along with playmaker Andres Iniesta and centre back Gerard Pique but will surely get back to form soon.

\n

Rather than showing signs of stress, Luis Enrique says he is looking forward to the challenge.

\n

“It’s an attractive phase of the season, I am not sure if it will be the most difficult,” the former Barca and Spain midfielder told a news conference.

\n

“I hope that we can play even more important matches in the Champions League but it will be very attractive for the Sevilla and Valencia games.

\n

“In the Champions League we are putting everything on one card against PSG.”

\n