The Blaugrana started with three centre-backs and two wing-backs in Nervion – a formation they stuck with for the whole 90 minutes.

Barcelona played with a risky system

Ronald Koeman praised his players’ defensive work as decisive in achieving a 2-0 win over Sevilla. The Blaugrana started with three centre-backs and two wing-backs in Nervion – a formation they stuck with for the whole 90 minutes. “We tried to put pressure on our opponent but played with three centre-backs and high wing-backs,” Koeman said at full time. “It was easier for us to stop Sevilla’s play. It was the key and it was a risky system. Without the ball, we pressed, tried to play man to man. Our game without the ball was key. It was a complete match.” The system left no room for Antoine Griezmann, who watched from the bench as Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi played well in attack. “It is not a message,” Koeman said of Griezmann’s lack of playing time.

Ilaix Moriba helped set Messi up for the second goal

“We decided to change the strategy, and, to be able to stand behind, we put Dembele up top. At the first goal, we said that we needed someone faster than Griezmann on the side of Messi. It is not his punishment.” Ilaix Moriba was one of the players who came off the bench ahead of Griezmann and helped set Messi up for the second goal. “He was outstanding,” Koeman said of the player. “Ilaix was strong and very calm on the ball after joining. He contributed to the little time he had. He helped us win.” These are the same opponents Barcelona will face on Wednesday when Sevilla visit the Camp Nou for their Copa del Rey semi-final return leg. Sevilla lead 2-0 from the first match. “We believe, obviously,” Koeman said of the chance of a comeback.

“We got through the whole game despite the injuries we had, but Wednesday is a different game. If we have a complete game, there is a chance.”