Rakitic hails 'patient' Barcelona after Real Betis rout

Ivan Rakitic felt Barcelona got their approach spot on in Sunday's impressive demolition of Real Betis.

Ivan Rakitic celebrates against Real Betis   -  Getty Images

Ivan Rakitic praised Barcelona for their patient approach after their 5-0 rout of Real Betis at the Benito Villamarin on Sunday.

Quique Setien's side had proved a match for the LaLiga leaders for much of the opening 50 minutes but a ruthless second-half display saw the visitors take all three points.

Former Sevilla captain Rakitic put Barca ahead in the 59th minute before two goals each from Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez made certain of a 17th win in 20 league games in 2017-18.

Rakitic felt his side produced a clever tactical display by allowing Betis to adopt their usual bold pressing approach before making the most of their chances.

"Knowing the Betis boss, who generally risks a lot, we knew that they would want to press high and steal the ball," he told Movistar.

"It was very important to have patience, to wait for the moment. And, in the second half, that moment came and we took advantage of it in the best way possible. We have to continue like this.

"Betis had prepared a one-on-one defence and we had to look for solutions. We spoke in the first half, we didn't want to wait until the break to talk between us.

"I think what we want is to improve in every game, in every moment. We have to go for more, to go at 100 per cent."

The win puts unbeaten Barca 11 points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top of the table, after Diego Simeone's side were held to a 1-1 draw by Girona on Saturday.

Rakitic, however, insists the title race is not yet over.

"Honestly, no, we have to be ready," said the midfielder, whose side face Espanyol in the second leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final in their next game. "We now have a nice challenge in the Copa. 

"We have to improve in each game and enjoy it together. What we have left is more difficult. We have to go for everything, but bit by bit."

Barca must overturn a 1-0 deficit to their city rivals on Thursday in order to reach the last four.

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