Barcelona defender Gerard Pique downplayed injury fears and revealed why he was substituted in the second half of Saturday’s 2-0 win over Sevilla in La Liga.
The 34-year-old has only recently returned from three months out with a knee problem and looked to be struggling physically during the match. However, Pique says it was a planned substitution that had been agreed before the match in an interview with Movistar after the final whistle.
I spoke with the coach to manage my return little by little. It’s been three months without playing and training very little, so to play so often wasn’t expected. We had a pact to play until that minute, although it also depended on the result. I am happy to participate and help the team.
Barca’s win saw the Catalan giants keep their slim title hopes alive and rise to second place in the table. The victory also saw Barca pick up a clean sheet for the second game in a row.
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Pique Talks Title
Pique spoke about his team’s title hopes after the match. Barca are now just two points behind Atletico Madrid, although the league leaders do have two games in hand. Pique feels his side are still in the race and have bounced back well from recent disappointments.
Credit where it’s due. Coming from PSG and Cadiz, two big blows, the team has picked itself up. The first half against Elche wasn’t good but we improved. There’s the talent to compete. The season is long and on Wednesday we’re going to compete.
The league’s on. Until it’s mathematically impossible, it’s on. Worse things have been seen. In two games, we weren’t up to scratch, but in we can have confidence with what this team’s done in 2021. A team like Sevilla, at home, have not created any chances. We dominated for 90 minutes, pressing high, playing in their half. It’s not the ideal situation, but we have confidence in the team.
Barca now take on Sevilla again on Wednesday in the Copa del Rey at the Camp Nou. The winner of the match will progress to the final, and Barca need a big comeback after losing the first leg of the tie 2-0.
Messi Shines Again in Barcelona Win
Barcelona’s win over Sevilla came courtesy of goals from Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi. The captain extended his lead at the top of the scoring charts in Spain with his 19th goal of the league season.
There’s no doubt that Messi has been in superb form in front of goal for the Catalan giants since the turn of the year.
Messi also seems to thrive against Sevilla who are his favorite victim in La Liga. His latest goal was the 30th he’s recorded against Sevilla, and Barca will be hoping he can continue his form on Wednesday at the Camp Nou.
Barca need to score at least three goals without reply against Sevilla if they are to make it through to the final of the Copa del Rey and won’t lack for confidence given his current hot streak.