Barcelona manager Luis Enrique was delighted with his side’s come-from-behind win against a Sevilla team he described as being one of the best in La Liga and Europe.
Sevilla shocked the Camp Nou by taking the lead in the 20th minute against Barcelona in their La Liga clash on Sunday, but a stunning free-kick from Lionel Messi put the Catalans back on track just 11 minutes later.
It was an unlikely match-winner who ultimately won the league leaders all three points, with centre-back Gerard Piqué finishing from close range after being teed up by Messi. The result takes Barcelona eight points clear of second-placed Atlético Madrid, and 12 clear of Real Madrid, with Los Blancos losing to their city rivals on Saturday.
Manager Luis Enrique is quoted by ESPN FC as saying: “We are in an unimprovable position as we head towards the decisive part of the season. We have Atletico relatively close — eight points plus goal average.
“But it is not about believing what others say. We have aimed to retain the title since the first week, we are now at week 26, with another game midweek [on Thursday at Rayo Vallecano].”
Enrique also had words of praise for Unai Emery’s Sevilla, claiming that the Europa League holders were the best team Barcelona had faced at the Camp Nou this season. “Today was maybe the best opponent we have played this season at the Camp Nou, one of best teams in La Liga, in Europe,” he added. “It is amazing this team have not won yet away from home [in La Liga all season].”
Barcelona finding ways to win despite poor performances
The Catalans’ attacking prowess is often the focus of the attention they receive, but it is the grit and determination of Enrique’s side to fight for victories that has put them in such a strong position to retain their La Liga crown.
The win against Sevilla was not the first time Barcelona have won a tough encounter — recent victories against Malaga and Levante away, as well as Arsenal in the Champions League, were in similar vein.
With 12 games to go and an eight-point lead over second place, it will take a monumental collapse from Luis Enrique and his Barcelona team to not win the league title for the second season in a row.