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Speaking the day before his side take on Sevilla in the Copa del Rey Final, Barça manager Ernesto Valverde was keen to avoid any talk of what victory might mean before a ball has even been kicked.

“We need to go into this game knowing that we could lose it” he insisted. "If you only think you can win it, that’s when things start going wrong. We’ve just had a situation where everyone was tagging us as the favourites and saying the job was already done, and we came unstuck. We need to learn from that.”

He was, of course, referring to painful Champions League exit at the hands of AS Roma.

Barça almost miraculously salvaged two points from their visit to Seville just three weeks ago, scoring two late goals in the final minutes, and that was more than sufficient warning that the Andalusians are a very fine side indeed.

“We were very close to losing that game and only managed to readdress the situation right at the end” he told his pre-match press conference, moments before overseeing the final training session before departing for Madrid.

“We suffered a lot that day, but that was good for us. There are positives to take out of it. It also told us that Sevilla have some very good players who can turn games around at any time.”

Whatever happens on Saturday, Barça are on even better course for the Liga title after Atlético Madrid lost to Real Sociedad this week.

“We now have five match balls” said Valverde. “And the sooner we clinch the league title the better. But before that, we have the cup final to think about, and in that competition, we only get one chance.”

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