Barcelona assistant manager Jordi Roura was delighted with his players’ response after a difficult week as they beat Sevilla 2-1 to stretch their lead at the top of La Liga to 15 points.
A 2-0 defeat to AC Milan on Feb. 20 has left the Catalans an uphill task if they are to secure their third Champions League title in five years and it seemed their cruise towards a 22nd league title was also about to be stalled when Alberto Botia headed Sevilla into a 1-0 half-time lead on the evening of Feb. 23.
However, Roura introduced Cristian Tello for Alexis Sanchez at the break and he was to have a telling effect as after David Villa had equalized, Tello set up Lionel Messi for the winner just before the hour mark.
“Winning is always the most important thing,” Roura told reporters. “The reaction of the team was important. We wanted to see how the team would react and this team has again come out of a difficult moment in front. We have to be happy.”
However, Roura did accept that Barça’s continued struggles at the back were a concern ahead of tomorrow’s Copa del Rey semifinal second-leg against Real Madrid and the return against Milan in a fortnight’s time.
Real Madrid, meanwhile, warmed up for the cup clash with Barça in midweek in remarkably similar fashion as it too had to overturn a 1-0 half-time deficit to beat bottom-placed Deportivo la Coruna 2-1 at La Riazor. Jose Mourinho had rested a number of his key players but it was only after he introduced Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Özil and Sami Khedira from the bench that Madrid got going as goals from Kaka and Gonzalo Higuain in the final 17 minutes closed the gap on Atletico Madrid in second to just a point.