Luis Enrique has hailed the importance of Arda Turan and Rafinha Alcantara to Barcelona this season, after the duo came off the bench to help secure a 2-1 comeback victory over Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday night (28 September).
Thorgan Hazard put Monchengladbach ahead in the first-half, with Luis Enrique adapting to the absence of Lionel Messi by deploying a new two-striker formation that saw summer signing Paco Alcacer and Luis Suarez playing alongside Neymar. However, that plan didn't work and the Barcelona boss reverted back to his traditional 4-3-3 by introducing Rafinha and Turan for Alcacer and Ivan Rakitic early in the second half. The decision was vindicated as the Turkey international equalised the game before Gerard Pique completed the turnaround to secure three points.
"We switched our positions in the second half and the subs did a great job. We were fair winners. Strategy was the key to a win that has done us a lot of good," the Barcelona boss explained.
Barcelona added depth to their squad over the summer, with the signings of Alcacer, Andre Gomes, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Digne, Denis Suarez and Jasper Cillesen allowing them to cope with the absences of key players. This decision has paid off, as even though Messi is out injured they have won two on the bounce against Sporting Gijon and Monchengladbach. Rafinha scored against the Asturians at the weekend playing in the Argentine's role on the right, while Turan came off the bench to score in the Champions League.
"Rafinha and Arda were clear examples of why we need all of the players, regardless of whether they start the game or come on in the second half," Luis Enrique admitted. "All of my players are very, very confident. I'm happy with all of their performances."
The Spanish boss admitted the Bundesliga side surprised them during the first half with an unexpected defensive gameplan. However, Barcelona managed eventually made it two wins out of two in this season's Champions League, leading group C by two points ahead of Manchester City, who were held to a draw by Celtic.
"They didn't play the way we expected. We thought they would put deep pressure on us, but they didn't. They just stuck eleven men behind the ball in the first half. We still had three or four great chances, but they got their transitions spot on to score against us," the boss said. "They started with a five-man defence and two defensive wingers – they certainly kept it tight at the back. But they weren't used to doing that, while we are more than used to playing against ultra-defensive teams. Most teams change their way of playing when they face us."
"We deserved the win because of the hard work that the players put in against a team that has not lost at home for a very long time," the Barcelona boss added. "The aim is to finish top of the group, not to speculate. We want to win every game, but we also know how hard this group is going to be."