MINSK, Belarus (Reuters) - Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said his side’s clean sheet in the Champions League win over BATE Borisov on Tuesday could be a turning point after a stuttering defensive start this season.
Two goals from Ivan Rakitic in the second half gave last season’s treble winners a straight-forward victory over BATE who caused few problems for Barca’s rearguard that had conceded 22 goals in 13 games going into the match.
Barcelona now lead Group E by three points with seven from three games. Bayer Leverkusen have four, BATE are on three and Roma have two.
“We have been on a run where it has been difficult for us to score and we have suffered at the back with the little that we have been threatened,” Luis Enrique told a news conference.
“I think that this can be a turning point.
“You always need to improve, it was not as though we were so bad but we needed to change. There were aspects of our defending we needed to improve although it wasn’t a case of black and white.”
Barca drew their first game in the group against Roma and then needed two late goals to give them a fortunate 2-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in their last Champions League match.
Also in La Liga they have not been rolling over sides in the same manner as last season and have lost their last two away games.
“I am happy in general as it is never easy to play this solidly away from home in the Champions League,” said Luis Enrique.
“We have created a lot of chances to score but we continued with the same run we have had all season where we have not finished them off.”
Rakitic replaced Sergi Roberto, who appeared to have a groin injury, in the first half but Luis Enrique played down the extent of the problem.
“It is not a serious injury. The necessary tests will be done tomorrow and then we will know how bad it is,” he said.
Barca host BATE in their next Champions League outing on Nov. 4.
Reporting by Tim Hanlon in Barcelona, editing by Clare Lovell