Sampaoli 'excited' about Barcelona challenge

Sevilla manager Jorge Sampaoli urged his players to arrest their five-game winless run when they travel to Barcelona on Wednesday.

Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli admitted his side are heavy underdogs in their LaLiga clash with Barcelona on Wednesday, but claimed the challenge of playing at the Camp Nou "excites" him. 

Sampaoli's men are winless in their last five games in all competitions, all but extinguishing their hopes of mounting a title challenge and ending their Champions League dreams.

Yet the 57-year-old claims his players are not fazed by visiting the ground where Barcelona have scored 17 goals in their last four league games.

"It’s very difficult to imagine going there and winning, but it's also very exciting and as a group we always go into this type of game talking about where we are and why," he told a media conference.

"We won't go into it thinking about challenging for the league - an objective that we were close to at one point but that got away from us - but there's always the simple pride of pulling on the shirt and playing for that regardless of who or where we play.

"No, the idea is play with courage and bravery and not to let recent results reflect on the style or performance of the team.

"What we need most now is conviction and to rebel against a bad run that all teams find themselves in at some point over such a long season, to look forward and be optimistic about everything that's yet to come and turn these results around."

Sampaoli also said he was relishing the prospect of watching international compatriot Lionel Messi play, and joked he looked forward to even managing him one day.

"It's always a pleasure to see Messi, seeing the best player in the world who's also Argentinian is always enjoyable. 

"When I said I'd manage Messi at some point maybe I meant it'd be at Newells in Rosario when he goes to play there."

When prompted by a reporter that it could be at Sevilla in a couple of years, Sampaoli replied "or maybe at Sevilla, yes, hopefully!"

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