Luis Suarez: Copa del Rey can't hide Barcelona's UCL failure
Luis Suarez said Barcelona's Copa del Rey triumph sets the team up for a Copa and Liga double they would have accepted at the start of the season, though he admitted the domestic success does not hide failure in the Champions League.
In addition to routing Sevilla 5-0 in the Copa final on Saturday, Barca are 12 points clear in the La Liga table, and just five games remaining, making them almost sure of adding the La Liga title in the next few weeks.
Saturday's result and the performance at the Wanda Metropolitano was a vindication for Barca coach Ernesto Valverde, who along with his team had been much criticised after their shock UCL quarterfinal exit at Roma earlier this month.
Speaking on TV Espana pitchside at the final whistle, the Uruguay forward said he and his colleagues had mixed feelings now about how their season was ending.
"The circumstances were difficult, and we had to turn things around," Suarez said. "This does not hide what happened in Rome, but it is an important trophy.
"At the start of the season we would have all taken [the domestic double]. It has a lot of merit. La Liga is a lot of games, and everyone wants to win the Copa.
"It feels a bit strange having been knocked out of the Champions League, you still have the feeling we could have gone further [in the competition]."
Barca steamrolled Sevilla to win a fourth consecutive Copa -- and 30th in total -- with Suarez scoring twice in the first half, either side of a Lionel Messi strike.
Captain Andres Iniesta, who is likely to depart after the season, made it 4-0 just after the break before getting a standing ovation, with Philippe Coutinho's penalty completing the scoring.
Sevilla were completely blown away during the opening 45 minutes in which Suarez, Messi and iniesta ran riot.
"We began the first half very well," Suarez said. "We worked in an organised way. This is the fruit of work done by a very focused team.
"We have won the last [four] Copas and this is a nice moment for the cules. We wanted to win this no matter what."
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan