Luis Enrique defends Busquets' performances

With Sergio Busquets struggling for form this season, Luis Enrique insists his Barcelona stars cannot be expected to perform like machines.

Luis Enrique has defended Sergio Busquets' performances this season and insists his Barcelona players are not "machines".

Barca are two points off LaLiga leaders Real Madrid and on course to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League, despite losing 3-1 at Manchester City on Tuesday.

Busquets has faced criticism over his performances, though, after some indifferent individual displays.

However, Enrique argued that even his outstanding stars should be forgiven for occasional below-par showings.

"I publicly congratulate Sergio Busquets on his attitude and behaviour," he told a news conference ahead of Sunday's trip to Sevilla.

"He is a key player and I am very happy with him. My players aren't machines, they can have ups and downs. We shouldn't criticise him excessively."

Busquets has played eight times so far in the league this season, but was left on the bench for their last LaLiga contest against Granada.