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Gerard Pique did NOT deliberately get himself booked against Arsenal, insists Barcelona boss Luis Enrique


Gerard Pique fouls Danny Welbeck during Barcelona’s Champions League victory over Arsenal

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Luis Enrique has denied suggestions Gerard Pique purposefully got himself booked during Barcelona’s victory over Arsenal on Tuesday night.

With Barca leading 2-0 in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie at the Emirates, Pique held a brief discussion with his manager on the touchline.

Just a minute later, the defender produced a rash challenge on Danny Welbeck late in the game to receive yellow card.

That rules Pique out of the return fixture with Arsenal but crucially means his disciplinary slate will be wiped clean at the quarter-final stage.

Southampton boss and former Barca star Ronald Koeman, watching the game as a TV pundit, claimed after the game it was a deliberate ploy.

“For sure he took it. It’s not a tackle that you do at 2-0 up,” said the Dutchman.

But Enrique played down claims of a conspiracy.

“It wasn’t deliberate,” said the Barca boss. “Gerard Pique, if you saw the fault (foul), he had to do it, it wasn’t deliberate at all.”

Barcelona were well contained by Arsenal in the first half but their class shone through in the end, with two Lionel Messi goals in the last 20 minutes securing a 2-0 win.

“Everyone who knows about football knows you need a first half like this in order to have a second like the one we had,” said Enrique. 

“Arsenal are very good at helping each other collectively and we needed a lot of possession of the ball.

“My players individually performed perfectly. But there is nothing decided yet, we will have to perform very well in the (second leg).”



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