Luis Enrique still believes Real Madrid will points in their visits to Celta Vigo and Malaga, giving Barcelona the chance to win La Liga by beating Eibar in their last game of the season. Meanwhile, the Spanish boss explained that young Marlon had to replace Javier Mascherano during the 4-1 victory over Las Palmas on Sunday (14 May) due to the Argentine centre-back suffering a problem in the warm-up.
Barcelona are currently leading La Liga due to their head-to-head advantage over Real Madrid. However, Los Blancos have a game in hand and only need four points from their final two games –against Celta and Malaga – to claim the title.
Real are thus heavy favourites to lift the title for the first time since 2012 after trashing Sevilla 4-1 on Sunday. Even so, Luis Enrique believes they can still stumble in their remaining matches, pointing out that Barcelona have lost at Celta (4-3) and Malaga (2-0) earlier this season.
"We have one game left, at home against Eibar, and clearly the objective is to win that game, to give us a chance to be champions. Our rivals have two games left, at two stadiums where, for example, we lost. If we were defeated there, any team can be defeated there," Luis Enrique said in a press conference following the win over Las Palmas.
Left-back Lucas Digne played on the right in the Canary Islands, while 21-year-old Marlon made his La Liga debut as Luis Enrique was without Gerard Pique, Jeremy Mathieu, Sergi Roberto, Aleix Vidal and Mascherano.
Pique could return for the final game against Eibar after Barcelona confirmed the centre-back had left the hospital to continue the recovery from an illness at home. Meanwhile, Mascherano's availability is uncertain after suffering an injury in the warm-up at Las Palmas.
"It was very positive because of the different circumstances surrounding the game. [Javier] Mascherano felt some discomfort in the warm-up and we decided not to risk it and, in combination with other injuries, I had to put Lucas at right fullback, and I think he played well... he also came up on attack and helped create some danger, and Marlon was also good," the Barcelona boss said.
"He was relaxed, and could help bring the ball up the field... for us it was a tough game, because our rivals, who are not playing for anything, often play well when they have nothing to lose, and Las Palmas are good enough to do just that, and I think they did. We were good and alert, we kept our rivals at bay, and we generated and took advantage of scoring chances to give us the three points."