Barca looking to put European exit behind them in Cup final

Barca looking to put European exit behind them in Cup final

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic insists they can make this season a success.

"There was a similar situation against Roma, where Barca were very much the favourites and people were already perhaps thinking about the next stage and it didn't happen", said Valverde, referring to his side's shock Uefa Champions League quarter-final exit when they were knocked out despite winning the first leg 4-1. "The most important thing is to think about ourselves, how we have to play and what we should do to win".

Barcelona have won the Copa del Rey in each of the last three seasons, including defeating Sevilla 2-0 after extra-time in Madrid in 2016. "It's normal that, as it's the only objective they have, there's more pressure on them but we have to be ready", he said on Tuesday, referring to his side still having a shot at winning the Coppa Italia.

Unbeaten in La Liga and virtually certain to win the title, a domestic double may not be enough to remove the lingering disappointment from Rome, particularly if arch rivals Real Madrid clinch their third consecutive European crown.

Barcelona edged the home league fixture, winning 2-1, before producing a famous comeback in the reverse game to salvage a draw after Sevilla had taken a 2-0 lead.

"It is true we have not been consistent in the league but in the Champions League we have made history and in the cup we have the opportunity to lift a trophy".

The matchday's other big game takes place at the other end of the table when Udinese host Crotone on Sunday in a contest whose outcome could have massive ramifications when it comes to which three teams will be relegated by the end of the season.

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"When the ball is at his feet it's very hard to stop him so it's important that we don't allow him to get near the ball".

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez will return to the starting XI after beginning Wednesday's draw at Celta Vigo on the bench.

Sevilla have few injury concerns with defender Simon Kjaer expected to return though Sebastien Corchia is out due to a groin problem.

"We need to go into this game knowing that we could lose it", Valverde said.

Confidence is surely low in the Sevilla camp heading into Saturday night, but pulling off an upset and beating Barcelona in a cup final would create a very different atmosphere around Seville. Now I'm back and I want to do a good job in every training session, ' the 30-year-old told the media following Friday's session. We have to think how to face Barcelona that way.

'Tomorrow, it's time to grit my teeth and go into the game.

The Cup would certainly have been third on Barca's list of priorities only a month ago, but the shattering Champions League defeat to Roma has altered perceptions of what might have otherwise have been a stellar campaign.

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