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UEFA Champions League

Luis Enrique blames 'very poor' first leg for Champions League exit to Juventus

7:43 PM EDT 4/19/17
Luis Enrique
Losing the first leg of the by such a wide margin was the reason the Catalans went out, according to their coach

Luis Enrique said Barcelona's "very poor" performance in Turin was the reason his side exited the Champions League at the quarter-final stage after losing 3-0 on aggregate to Juventus.

The Catalans' coach saw his 15-game European winning streak at Camp Nou come to an end as Juve's stubborn defence held firm to record their fifth straight Champions League clean sheet.

Luis Enrique felt his side did enough to win on the night but noted it was always going to be tough to produce a repeat of their miraculous comeback performance in the last round against Paris Saint-Germain, when three goals in the last seven minutes saw Barca through.

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"I could not define our Champions League campaign in one word," Luis Enrique told BeIN Sports.

"A very poor first leg in Turin has put us out. I will remember a lot of moments from that game in Turin.

"Two teams were playing to attack, one out of necessity, but [Juve] have not just locked themselves in. I will stick with the attitude of my players and of the fans. The fairest outcome would have been a win."

Barca's attention now turns to Sunday's Clasico clash against Real Madrid as the LaLiga title race enters its final stretch, with Luis Enrique's side three points behind the leaders, who also have a game in hand.

"We have the option of getting into the league title race, with a direct duel against the first placed team," Luis Enrique said. 

"Anyway, I love being at a club as ambitious as this. We always prove our label as favourites. It's a night to be proud of."

Luis Enrique held back from backing Juventus to go on and win the Champions League for the first time since 1995-96, with Real Madrid, Monaco and Atletico Madrid the other three clubs set to compete in the semi-finals.

"It was a good game between two great teams. I tip my hat to Juventus," Luis Enrique told Mediaset Premium.

"Can they reach the final? They have a great coach, great players and have everything it takes to win the Champions League. Having said that, there are other sides who are in a similar position."