Athletic Bilbao v Barcelona preview: Luis Enrique expecting tough encounter
Last Updated: 28/08/16 6:43pm
Barcelona manager Luis Enrique is expecting another gruelling game at Athletic Bilbao when the La Liga champions visit San Mames live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 7pm on Sunday.
Barca scrapped to a 1-0 win in the fixture last season thanks to a second-half strike from Luis Suarez, after Lionel Messi missed a penalty.
But the Catalans were thrashed 4-0 at San Mames in the Spanish Super Cup, the only domestic competition they failed to win last season.
Athletic, who only field players who were born in or brought up in the Basque Country, finished fifth in La Liga last season, missing out on Champions League football by two points while also reaching the Europa League quarter-finals.
Although Barca won four of six meetings with Athletic last term, winning both legs of their Copa del Rey quarter-final tie as well as both league games, Luis Enrique is prepared for another testing game against Ernesto Valverde's side.
"It is one of the most difficult games you can play away from home," Luis Enrique told a news conference on Saturday.
"The fact Athletic have a limited market to choose from, and the fact they have the same coach, means it will be the same as always.
"We are excited to play at San Mames, a stadium we love with an atmosphere you get at few other grounds in the league," he added.
"We'll focus on the problems Valverde will cause us, pressuring us when we're on the ball and giving us problems on the counter."
Barca lead the La Liga table on goal difference after thrashing Real Betis 6-2 in their opening game and are boosted by the return of Javier Mascherano and Marc-Andre ter Stegen from injury.