Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has singled out Denis Suarez for praise after the Spaniard dazzled during the Catalans' thrilling 2-1 victory over Sevilla on Sunday night (6 November). The Nou Camp tactician also explained how a half-time tactical switch to bolster the midfield helped his side secure the three points at the Sanchez Pizjuan in a stunning comeback.
The La Liga giants re-signed Denis from Villarreal during the summer transfer window with the intent of adding depth to the side's midfield. The 22-year-old enjoyed a strong start to the campaign, starting the first three league games of the season due to Andres Iniesta's injury.
However, the former Manchester City academy starlet has since been restricted to a secondary role. Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Iniesta have typically formed Barcelona's starting trinity in midfield, with Arda Turan, Andre Gomes and Rafinha Alcantara also in the mix.
But Suarez has taken advantage of Iniesta's latest injury to feature in the first team again, starting in the last two league victories over Granada and Sevilla.
Lionel Messi was arguably man of the match in the Sunday's win, cancelling out Vitolo's early goal before assisting Luis Suarez for the winner. However, the Barcelona boss took deliberate time to emphasise Denis Suarez's contribution to the victory.
"I would like to highlight Denis Suarez in particular because every time he's had a chance to play from the bench he has taken the most of it by performing at the highest level. It's very difficult to perform when you're not starting regularly but Denis is managing to do that no matter how many minutes I give to him, when I give him one, none or when I give him the chance to start like today," the Barcelona boss said in the post-match press conference. "This is this the kind of attitude we want from all of our players and I hope he carries on like that. I only can congratulate him and encourage him to carry on. He is a great example of professionalism."
Sevilla were the better side during the first-half after Jorge Sampaoli surprised Luis Enrique with a very high press. However, helped by Messi's equaliser before the break, the Barcelona boss managed to change the situation completely in the second half, when his side scored a winner and had numerous chances to increase their lead.
"We changed the shape at half-time, pushing Sergi Roberto into midfield and that allowed us to generate more superiority in midfield. Sometimes it was Sergi Roberto in there, other times it was [Samuel] Umtiti, depending on what benefited us best at the time. But that's how we were able to find Leo Messi more and create more chances," Luis Enrique explained. "It was a great game. I thought it would be as it was a match between two teams that are attacking and take risks. We had chances at the beginning of the game but nothing came of them, with Luis and Neymar making a mess of one, which doesn't usually happen."
"Then Sevilla scored and they had other chances, too. But the goal at the end of the first half helped us back into the game and we were great in the second half. We deserved to win and could even have killed the game of earlier."