Andres Iniesta: Barcelona remaining focused amid 'sextuple' talk
Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta has warned Blaugrana fans and pundits not to get too carried away talking about the "sextuple" ahead of Tuesday's UEFA Super Cup clash with Sevilla.
Barca swept their way to the Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey trophies last May, only the second time the Treble has been won in Barca's club history.
The other time the feat was achieved was in 2009, when Pep Guardiola's side went on to also claim the UEFA Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup, as well as the FIFA Club World Cup, becoming the only team in history to complete such a clean sweep.
Much of the pregame coverage in Catalonia and elsewhere has focused on whether Luis Enrique's team can repeat that success, and Iniesta said at a news conference in Tbilisi that it was something the players were aware of.
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"When you win the Treble, you look at what else you can win," Iniesta said. "We know it will not be easy at all. Tomorrow we have the first piece. We know the opponent well, and they have a great coach.
"We must realise that it will be difficult. We are very excited about going for the six trophies again, but we are just thinking about tomorrow's game."
However, Iniesta added that the experience of the 2006 UEFA Super Cup, when a Barca side coached by Frank Rijkaard were surprised 3-0 by Sevilla, was a useful reminder that the current side had a lot of work ahead of them.
"It is not a good memory, Sevilla deserved to be champion," he said. "It seems we are going to win the sextuple without having to do anything, and that is not the mentality that we must have."
Luis Enrique's main selection issue ahead of the game has been a bout of mumps for Brazil international Neymar, meaning that Pedro Rodriguez is set to start despite much speculation he will soon join Manchester United for €30 million.
Sevilla coach Emery told his pregame news conference that Neymar was a great player, but bringing in a Spain international and World Cup winner like Pedro would not necessarily weaken the team.
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"Barca have been doing this for many years, but now Luis Enrique has added an extra touch of excellence," Emery said. "That Neymar is missing is important, but if you can replace him with a certain Pedro, who is also a very important player... Their potential with Neymar is very high, and without Neymar too."
Injuries and illness mean that Sevilla will likely have to field a makeshift defence, with potentially full-back Coke and midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak in the middle of Emery's back four.
"I have an idea of the game in my head, although it is something else for it to happen like that," the Basque-born coach said. "We cannot cry about the players we are missing, instead look for solutions. Their missing players are in areas where they have a lot of options."
Emery, who was linked with Premier League club West Ham and Serie A outfit AC Milan last summer, said that showpiece occasions such as this game were the reason he had chosen to stay at Sevilla despite interest from elsewhere.
"You will see tomorrow," he said when asked specifically why he had turned down the chance to work in England. "We will play a final and only the chosen few play these, and then we will play in the Champions League. That excites me, and motivates me."