Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman praised his team for not giving up after they qualified for the Copa del Rey final with a 3-0 win over Seville after extra time on Wednesday.
Barcelona lost 2-0 in the first leg, but Osman Dembele gave him an early lead at the “Camp Nou”, before Gerard Pique equalized in the total score at the end of stoppage time after Lucas Ocampos missed a penalty kick for the away team.
Martin Braithwaite’s header in extra time completed Barcelona’s 3-2 victory in the aggregate to continue his remarkable career in the competition this season, as he had previously needed extra time to win a 2-0 win over the third-tier Cornia, and overturned his delay to beat 2-1 over Rayo Vallecano, the opponent in the second division.
The Catalan team trailed 2-0 in front of Granada until the 88th minute in the quarter-finals, before equalizing, and then won 5-3 after extra time.
Coman told reporters, “We always believe in ourselves. We have never given up on this tournament … It is about mentality, and as a coach I cannot ask for more than what I saw from my team tonight, and we continued to fight in overtime. It was amazing, completely satisfied with the team’s diligence tonight. Deserved. “
Unlike previous coaches, Koeman paid attention to the cup and rested the players in the league, to maintain their vitality for the tournament, saying it was Barcelona’s best chance to get out of the title this season, given the distance from Atletico Madrid to the top of the league and the tough competition in the Champions League.
“I am very proud, it was an important moment for the team and me, because when you try to win such matches, it means that you are a good coach, but if you lose, you will be seen as a bad coach,” the Dutch coach said.
“This team is strong physically and psychologically. You cannot always give a great performance, but if you possess the ball, you can create chances,” he concluded. “What we did tonight was exceptional.”