Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona hammered Leganes 5-0 on Thursday to advance to the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey and deliver a much-needed boost for new coach Quique Setien.
Messi’s double, as well as goals from Antoine Griezmann, Clement Lenglet and Arthur Melo rounded off an emphatic win at Camp Nou, where Barca successfully bounced back from Saturday’s surprise La Liga loss away at Valencia.
Defeat at Mestalla allowed Real Madrid to pull three points clear at the top of the table and put early pressure on Setien, who replaced Ernesto Valverde as coach earlier this month.
His appointment will be judged on performances in the league and Champions League this season but Barca have a rich recent history in the Copa del Rey, which they have won in four of the last five years.
They will be in Friday’s draw for the last eight where, despite a number of upsets, they join a familiar looking field.
Real Madrid, Valencia, Real Sociedad, Granada, Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao are already through, with Sevilla to face Mirandes later on Thursday.
A home tie in the last 16 against La Liga’s bottom club always looked a kind route back to winning ways for Setien’s side, whose next four league fixtures now include Levante, Getafe and Eibar, all at home, as well as a trip to Real Betis.
Victories in those games would give Setien momemtum but performances will be important too given his arrival was much about changing Barcelona’s style as their results.