Luis Enrique: Barcelona frustrated by Malaga packing 10 in the box

Luis Enrique was left frustrated as Barcelona missed the chance to move temporarily top of La Liga after being held to a goalless draw by Malaga on Saturday.

Barca were without Lionel Messi -- who dropped out on the morning of the game after vomiting through the night on Friday -- as well as Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta, but they still had the better of the chances at Camp Nou.

However, they were unable to break down a Malaga side who ended the game with nine men and sat deeper than even Luis Enrique had imagined.

"We are disappointed," he conceded in his postgame news conference. "We didn't expect them to be so deep.

"The density of the opposition players was incredible. They've put 10 men in their area so there was always going to be very few clear chances.

"We've had enough chances despite that, though. In the second half we generated a lot. But it's always difficult against a rival that sits so deep. We weren't counting on losing these two points.

"We tried until the end and we kept our faith. There was only one team [in it] and I can only congratulate my players. Now to pick ourselves up and improve."

Diego Llorente was sent off in the 69th minute for a reckless challenge on Neymar, while Juankar was also dismissed in stoppage time after saying something to referee Ricardo De Burgos.

Given Malaga's tactics, Luis Enrique didn't feel the numerical advantage made too much of a difference to the game, while he was also unwilling to blame the dropped points on the absence of key players.

"We have lost with Messi, with Luis Suarez, without Messi, without Luis Suarez," he pointed out. "Squads win titles. Messi must be really ill to miss a match, but it's nothing serious. He's already recovering."

Malaga coach Juande Ramos, meanwhile, defended his tactics. He was also missing several first team players and was forced to field players from the club's reserve team.

"We had a lot of players out, important ones, too," he said. "We had four players from the B team playing. It would have been suicide not to have played how we played.

"We prepared for the game Barca were going to play with their best players [available]. We didn't change that.

"They still played with 11 internationals. Messi would have provided another problem, but we coped with everything they threw at us."