Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde admitted his side were well below their best despite beating Roma 4-1 in the Champions League quarter-final first leg on Wednesday.
Two own-goals, from Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas, and a close-range finish from Gerard Pique, presented the Catalans with a flattering 3-0 advantage at the Camp Nou before Edin Dzeko snatched Roma a late away goal.
But, just as the Italians looked to have grabbed a lifeline, Luis Suarez restored the three-goal cushion, by scoring a fourth in the 87th minute.
It means Barca will head to Italy next week with a place in the last four firmly in their grasp but this was not a virtuoso attacking display.
Instead, they benefited from two fortuitous own goals and some careless Roma finishing. They are unlikely to meet as generous an opponent in the semis.
“We did not that have continuity in the game,” Valverde said. “We had some errors and there were times that we rushed into the attack, instead of having some control.”
Barca also had referee Danny Makkelie to thank for not awarding Roma an early penalty, after Nelson Semedo pushed Dzeko in the back.
“They are already good on their own, they don’t…