Madrid: Barcelona coach Luis Enrique believes that few players would be capable of scoring the Luis Suarez goal that gave them a2-1 victory over Real Madrid in Sunday’s La Liga ‘Clasico’.
Suarez was slow to get into his stride at Barca following a four-month biting ban but his winner in the crunch game against Real showed his value to a club chasing silverware on three fronts this season.
He deftly brought a long ball by Dani Alves into his stride and with his second touch fired it into the corner despite a desperate dive from keeper Iker Casillas.
“It was a goal that only the very top players are capable of scoring. The way he controlled the ball and struck it,” Luis Enrique told reporters.
“That is why we paid the money we did to sign him. It was not just for that though but his attitude, his effort and what he gives the team.
“I am pleased that he was a decisive player and generally for the effort that he put into the game. I said a long time ago that he is not just the old-type striker but someone who combines well.
"He is a scorer, someone that can set up chances and is also physically strong.”
Followed his 81 million euro ($87.7 million) move from Liverpool, the Uruguayan made little impact in his first game for Barca, a loss against Real at the Bernabeu.
In the re-match, however, he overshadowed both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo with the decisive second goal that put Barca four points clear at the top of La Liga with ten matches left.
With 18 wins from 19 games, Barca are also in the last eight of the Champions League and will contest the final of the King’s Cup.
More settled without the frequent personnel changes and tactical switches that Luis Enrique made earlier in the campaign, Barca have also looked less dependent on their traditional short-passing game.
They scored their opener against Real with a header from defender Jeremy Mathieu.
“Your style of football is down to the players that you have,” said Luis Enrique.
“We want to have possession high up the pitch but the way you play also depends on the opposition and it is a complex sport where at times you need to have other options.
“We are now where we want to be in the league but I do not like to speculate and although we are first there is a long way to go.”