Barcelona unbeaten streak means 'zero' without title - Luis Enrique
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique admitted his team were in pole position to retain the La Liga title after Sunday's 2-1 home win over Sevilla, but added his team's 34-match unbeaten run will mean nothing at season's end without the title.
The visitors shocked the Camp Nou by going ahead early through winger Vitolo, but Lionel Messi converted a free kick and Gerard Pique added a close-range finish after a corner to ensure the three points for the Catalan outfit.
After a weekend which also saw Atletico Madrid win 1-0 at Real Madrid on Saturday afternoon, Barca have an eight point advantage on second placed Atletico, and are 12 ahead of Madrid back in third, with 12 games left to play.
The blaugrana coach told his postgame news conference that he did not listen to either the Atletico or Madrid camps saying the title race was already over, but admitted that his own team's current position was "unimprovable."
"We have Atletico relatively close -- eight points plus goal average," Luis Enrique said. "But it is not about believing what others say. We have aimed to retain the title since the first week, we are now at week 26, with another game midweek [on Thursday at Rayo Vallecano].
"We are in an unimprovable position as we head towards the decisive part of the season."
Sevilla were the last team to beat Barca in any competition back in early October, and will also face Messi and company in the Copa del Rey final on May 22. Luis Enrique admitted that Unai Emery's team were among the toughest opponents his side had faced this season.
"Today was maybe the best opponent we have played this season at the Camp Nou, one of best teams in La Liga, in Europe," he said. "It is amazing this team have not won yet away from home [in La Liga all season].
"Unai's Sevilla are really well worked, very strong physically, can play football, are good on the wings, score lots of goals, have [Kevin] Gameiro's pace up front. They went ahead, we put in a great effort, knowing how important the points were. At 2-1 we had chances, not to suffer at the end, but it is a very good result, a very good performance."
Barca's record 34-game run without defeat now includes wins vs. all 19 of the other La Liga teams -- but Luis Enrique knocked back a question about whether he would tell stories about going unbeaten so long.
"I have a long time yet before the grandkids, don't scare me with that, my children are still young," he said. "But this run will mean zero, unless we win trophies [at the end of the season]."