Luis Enrique says Barcelona playing 'more effective' than usual after win

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said he was happy his team had increased their La Liga lead in a "more effective" hard-fought 2-1 win at Las Palmas on Saturday.

Luis Suarez and Neymar were on the scoresheet for Barca, but relegation-threatened Las Palmas remained in the game through ex-Real Madrid youngster Willian Jose, and might even have equalised during frantic closing stages in which both teams spurned clear chances to score.

Barca have now gone 32 games unbeaten, 16 of those since the winter break, and move nine points ahead of second placed Atletico Madrid, and 10 clear of Real Madrid in third, although both chasers have still to play this weekend.

The Blaugrana coach suggested his team had not been at their very best, but said he was happy to improve their advantage at the top of the table before Madrid play at Malaga and Atletico host Villarreal on Sunday.

"Today we played a more effective game than usual," Luis Enrique said. "At this rhythm, playing every two or three days, we can only keep going. We can be more or less in control, effective or not, but you saw what happened.

"We have things to improve, always do, but I am happy as we have built a lead playing first, and have to see what others do now."

Luis Enrique praised Las Palmas goalkeeper Javi Varas, who denied Suarez and Lionel Messi on more than one occasion, while admitting that the home side had their chances to level the game late on.

"Javi Varas was at a very high level," Luis Enrique said. "We began very well, got ahead on the scoreboard. They kept playing, and remained in the match all the time.

"In the second half we were a bit more compact, had some chances to seal the game. When you don't do that, the opponent always has a chance to equalise.

"We knew that today's opponent could keep the ball, don't give it up easy, are well positioned. So it's difficult to press them. We found it difficult to win the ball back quickly."

Barca now face a trip to Arsenal for Tuesday's Champions League last-16 first leg, which Luis Enrique predicted would be another difficult challenge for his side.

"That is another competition -- a different tie, over 180 minutes," he said. "For sure they will be a difficult rival, with the quality to give us problems. It will difficult, they all are."

Asked why he had not decided to give a rest to any of his big name South American attackers during their recent gruelling schedule, Luis Enrique batted away the question.

"I don't have to explain my decisions," he said. "You can like them or not, but that's what they are."