Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona hammered Leganes 5-0 on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey and deliver a much-needed boost for new coach Quique Setien.
Messi’s double, as well as goals from Antoine Griezmann, Clement Lenglet and Arthur Melo rounded off an emphatic win at Camp Nou, where Barca successfully bounced back from Saturday’s surprise La Liga loss away at Valencia.
“We did a lot of things well but I am not completely happy because we also lost control of the game in the latter stages of the first half,” said Setien.
Defeat at Mestalla allowed Real Madrid to pull three clear at the top of the league and put early pressure on Setien, who replaced Ernesto Valverde as coach earlier this month.
His appointment will be judged on performances in the league and Champions League this season but Barca have a rich recent history in the Copa del Rey, which they have won in four of the last five years.
They will be in Friday’s draw for the last eight but Sevilla will not after they fell to a shock 3-1 defeat away at Segunda side Mirandes. Real Madrid, Valencia, Real Sociedad, Granada, Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao complete the list.
Before the game, the Catalans’ club director Guillermo Amor ruled out buying another striker before the end of the January transfer window on Friday, meaning Griezmann is likely to step into the role of the injured Luis Suarez down the middle.
“There may be a risk of injuries but I have confidence in the players I have,” said Setien.
Sevilla’s defeat to Mirandes, who sit 10th in the second tier, was the biggest shock of the round. Matheus Barrozo scored twice before Alvaro Rey put Mirandes out of sight. Sevilla’s Nolito scored a late consolation.