Enrique hails squad as Messi leads cup romp
Barcelona: Luis Enrique wanted his players to take the plaudits as Barcelona crushed Sevilla 3-0 to win their 12th Spanish Super Cup on Wednesday, 5-0 on aggregate.
Arda Turan and Lionel Messi blew away the Andalusians at the Camp Nou, with victory meaning the coach has won eight of the 10 competitions he has contested while in charge of Barcelona.
With the hosts already leading by two goals from the first leg, Sevilla — bar an early flurry of chances — were on the receiving end of a Barcelona football master class.
Turan put in his best display yet for the Catalans after a disappointing debut season, scoring once in each half.
But it was Messi who masterminded a relentless slew of assaults on Sevilla’s goal.
“I am very fortunate to have a group of unique players, who don’t stop surprising me,” Enriquw said in his post-match press conference.
“They are different and the good thing is that the new players have a lot of enthusiasm and will try and copy what those who have been here for years have been doing. It’s a true honour and a pleasure.”
Sevilla started brightly with Ben Yedder forcing a smart save from Claudio Bravo.
Barcelona withstood the early pressure and it took just 10 minutes for them to open the scoring.
A good move between Andre Gomes and Messi led to the latter putting Turan through and the Turk fired home to break the deadlock.
Gomes was one of Barcelona’s four summer signings and the other three, Samuel Umtiti, Denis Suarez and Lucas Digne, all also started the match.
French centre-back Umtiti was having a good game until shortly after the half-hour mark, when he blocked Mariano Ferreira’s shot with his arm and the referee pointed to the penalty spot.
However, Bravo dived low to his right to deny Sevilla captain Vicente Iborra.
Reports in Spanish media suggest Bravo could be moving to Manchester City and he put in a flawless display.
Sevilla should have equalised on the stroke of half-time when Vidal allowed Gabriel Mercado space, but his header clipped the top of the crossbar and flew over.
It proved a costly miss straight after the break when Turan put the game beyond them as he lashed home a superb strike from distance.
Messi soon made it 3-0, heading home after an inch-perfect cross from Digne, who in turn had been fed neatly by Gomes.
“I’m very happy and satisfied with what I saw on the pitch,” added Enrique. “Apart from [Javier] Mascherano’s injury.”
The Argentine defender went off late in the second half and it has been revealed that he has a minor hamstring strain which will keeps him out for a week.
The victory was achieved with regular starters Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique and Ivan Rakitic who were left on the bench, while Neymar is on Olympic duty in Rio.
“We could have scored in the first half,” Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli reflected. “And in the second half we made two errors that put them in front definitively. The differences was in the areas.”