MADRID, SPAIN - JANUARY 19: Pablo Machin Diez, Manager of Sevilla looks on prior to the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Sevilla FC at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on January 19, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Sevilla manager Pablo Machin is braced for a tough time against Barcelona in tonight’s Copa del Rey clash

Following an impressive start to the season, Sevilla’s form of late has tailed off with just one win in their last five matches.

Now Los Rojiblancos will be pitted against Barcelona tonight for the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final.

The two teams faced off against each other in last season’s final, which saw Barcelona thrash Sevilla 5-0 at Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano to claim a 30th title and a fourth in a row.

However, Sevilla hopes of claiming victory at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan have been boosted by the news that the Blaugrana’s star man Lionel Messi will not feature.

“We must be prepared if we are to beat Barcelona,” said Machin on the club website.

“It’s a complicated tie and I’m sure they think the same as us. No one wanted the current leaders of La Liga and the team who has won the past four cups. But, should we go through, it would make it all the sweeter.

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“It’s tough for any team to win by more than one goal in the Camp Nou. The plan would be to bring a positive result to the Camp Nou and try to keep a clean sheet, but that would be difficult.

“If we are to cause a surprise in this tie, because we all believe Barça are the favourites, we need to bring a result to the Camp Nou where we don’t have to score more than one goal.”

As for the team’s current run of results, Machin added: “I want to think it’s not mental tiredness because the team is in a good shape and, in general, the results are good.

“I can understand that it would be a slight drop in our physical condition because we’re playing many games and that takes its toll.

“I won’t use the injuries as an excuse, but our players aren’t machines and they’ve been playing at a very high level.”

The Sevilla and Barcelona Copa del Rey match will begin tonight in Andalusia at 21:30 (CET).