Barcelona reached a sixth successive Copa del Rey final by beating Real Madrid on Wednesday, a feat which Gerard Pique says will never be repeated in Spanish football.
Two Luiz Suarez strikes sandwiched a Raphael Varane own goal as Barca ran out 3-0 winners at the Santiago Bernabeu to progress 4-1 on aggregate. They will meet either Valencia or Real Betis in the final in May.
Barca are attempting to become the first-ever side to win the competition five times in a row. The last time they lost a Copa tie was the 2014 final, when they were beaten 2-1 by Madrid.
“Reaching a sixth final… I don’t think what we have achieved is something that will ever happen again in the Copa del Rey,” Pique told reporters after the Clasico win.
“We’ve won it a lot in recent years but we want to win it again. It’s special to qualify for a final. It’s actually been more out of habit than anything else. Turning things around against Levante and Sevilla and then this [winning at Madrid].
“It was an important win. Madrid were on top in the first half, but we took advantage of the space in the second half to win the game and the tie. It’s a great way to reach the final. Winning here and reaching the final is always a cause for happiness.”
Barca and Madrid meet again on Saturday in the league. The Catalans go into that game with a seven-point lead over second place Atletico at the top of the table and a nine-point gap between them and Los Blancos.
“We’ve been lucky to win a lot of games here and by some big margins,” Pique added. “But it was a complicated match and they’re not that far behind us. we can’t relax now because it would not bode well for Saturday.
“We’re coming through this phase of games — which was really tough [away against Lyon, Sevilla and Madrid twice] — really well. You can’t always play well, but we’re getting results an Madrid were the better side in the first half but Vincius Jr., Karim Benzema and Lucas Vazquez spurned their best chances. After the break, Suarez and Barcelona displayed much more efficiency at the other end.
Barca coach Ernesto Valverde was happy to make the final but admitted improvements will be needed ahead of the weekend’s rematch.
“It was a game of two halves,” Valverde said in a news conference. “They were better in the first half. They robbed the ball back quickly and we didn’t get into our rhythm.
“After the break, we came out with much more determination. They didn’t take their chances in the first half but we took ours later.
“Saturday will be a different story. Spirits are high after this win but we will have to improve a lot to win here again. They didn’t take their chances and we have to prevent them having so many openings in the next game.”we hope to get another good result in the next Clasico.”