Defending together key to stopping Ibra: Luis Enrique

 Defending as a unit will be the key to stopping Paris St Germain talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Wednesday`s Champions League Group F showdown, Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said on Tuesday.

Reuters| Updated: Dec 09, 2014, 20:10 PM IST
Defending together key to stopping Ibra: Luis Enrique

Barcelona: Defending as a unit will be the key to stopping Paris St Germain talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Wednesday`s Champions League Group F showdown, Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said on Tuesday.

Sweden striker Ibrahimovic, who spent a season at Barca in 2009-10, returned from injury and struck twice in PSG`s 2-1 Ligue 1 victory at home to Nantes at the weekend and is expected to lead the line for the French champions at the Nou Camp.

"We are talking about a top player," Luis Enrique told a news conference. "If he is at his normal level he is very difficult to stop," added the former Barca and Spain midfielder.

"I always like to transmit to the team the idea that we defend as a unit.

"If we manage to work collectively and work in a block and pressure well then the ball won’t get through to Ibra. And if the ball doesn’t get through to Ibra then his effectiveness is reduced.

"But as he showed against Ajax at any moment he is capable of scoring and of deciding a match."

Barca and PSG are already through to the last 16 and the French side need only a draw to secure top spot and avoid a fellow group winner in Monday`s draw for the knockout round.

With one match to play, PSG lead on 13 points thanks to their 3-2 victory against Barca in Paris in September. Barca have 12 in second, with Ajax Amsterdam on two points and APOEL Nicosia on one.

Barca will be without suspended Brazil right back Daniel Alves but Luis Enrique refused to be drawn on who might replace him in the starting lineup.

Adriano is the obvious choice, or Martin Montoya, although the latter has barely featured this term.

Barca have not failed to win their Champions League group since 2006-07 and have won 22 of their last home games in Europe`s elite club competition, losing just once.