Luis Enrique: Barcelona first half a dream; Andres Iniesta like a painter

Luis Enrique felt Barcelona produced one of their best 45 minutes of the season in the first half as they beat Sevilla 3-0 at Camp Nou, and reserved special praise for Andres Iniesta's performance on Wednesday.

Lionel Messi, well rested after missing games for club and country through suspension in the last week, created the first goal for Luis Suarez and then scored two of his own as Barca killed off Sevilla in eight first-half minutes.

It leaves Jorge Sampaoli's side 11 points behind Barca and without a win in six games, while Luis Enrique's men are keeping the pressure on league leaders Real Madrid.

"It was the first half we'd dreamed of, taking the game to Sevilla," the Barca coach said in his postgame news conference.

"We were able to generate absolute control in their half, not just in terms of the goals, but speaking about the chances we generated as well.

"We recovered the ball quickly thanks to our pressing. It was one of our best first halves without doubt this season, taking into consideration the rival and how we played.

"In the second half things changed due to scoreline, with chances for both teams to score goals, but it was always under control."

Messi and Suarez, the league's two leading scorers with 27 and 23 goals respectively, will once again get the headlines, but there was also a special performance from Iniesta.

The midfielder has struggled with injuries this season and this was just the sixth time he's completed 90 minutes in La Liga.

However, Luis Enrique compared the 32-year-old -- who recently generated doubts about his future by suggesting it's not certain he will extend his contract beyond its 2018 expiry -- to a painter and dispelled any concerns about him not continuing at the top level in Catalonia.

"What Iniesta represents not just for Barca but for football, too, is that he's able to make a rough sport like football look subtle, as if he was a painter," he said.

"He is an example for kids around the world and of values for everyone. I know that he wants more minutes, I'm aware of that, but he still has a lot of years of elite football ahead of him and hope they'll be with Barcelona."

On Luis Suarez, who scored a spectacular overhead kick goal before being given a breather in the second half, Luis Enrique added: "He doesn't just use his body well, but he has the capacity to shoot from anywhere knowing where the goal is.

"His execution, his movement and his technical quality make him the best No. 9 in the world.

"After seeing the performance [from the whole team], we have reasons to be optimistic, but there is a very fine line between victory and defeat. It's about managing how often the players play, but with this calendar it's impossible."