Barcelona coach Luis Enrique feels his side were worthy winners of the UEFA Super Cup due to the effort they put in to see off Spanish rivals Sevilla 5-4 in Tbilisi.
Reported Manchester United target Pedro came off the bench in extra-time and struck the decisive goal in the 115th minute from close range after the Champions League winners had let slip a 4-1 lead during the second half.
Victory brought with it Barcelona’s fourth title of 2015, adding to their La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League successes, and Luis Enrique believes it was well deserved.
“Sevilla played a very complete match,” he told the club’s website. “I think we were good physically, even in extra-time, and the effort was worth it.
“This was a clear example of how difficult it is to win titles. Everyone puts us down as the favourites but we have to appreciate what these players have done because it is not easy. Football can have surprises
“They got back in the game but the equaliser jolted us awake. We made a great effort and we’re very satisfied. What they did deserves a lot of merit. In extra-time we were better and we deserved the title.”
Europa League champions Sevilla led through an Ever Banega free-kick after just three minutes, but the honours looked to be heading to Barca when Lionel Messi’s double, plus further strikes from Rafinha and Luis Suarez, gave them a comfortable advantage.
However, Sevilla refused to buckle and goals from Jose Antonio Reyes and Kevin Gameiro gave them hope before substitute Yevhen Konoplyanka levelled with nine minutes remaining to take the game into extra-time.
In the end, Pedro’s goal proved the difference but Sevilla coach Unai Emery took far more positives than negatives from the performance.
He said: “I don’t know if the result was fair, but with the chances we had I’m left with a sweet taste in my mouth.
“Hopefully, we can stay at this kind of competitive level for the whole season. We competed, we stayed with them and I think the team really deserved something.
“We know have to challenge ourselves now, to grow, to compete with them and see where we can go. We have taken a step here and defeat makes me proud of the team.
“I said before the match, the worst thing would be being unable to recognise the team but that didn’t happen. There’s cause for a lot of optimism at Sevilla.”