Martino: Barcelona struck the right balance

Barcelona head coach Gerardo Martino hailed the intelligence of his team after witnessing them return to the top of La Liga on Sunday.

The reigning champions had to come from behind to beat Sevilla in a 4-1 triumph at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

Alberto Moreno's deflected strike had the put the hosts ahead after quarter-of-an-hour, but Barca led at the break thanks to an Alexis Sanchez header and Lionel Messi's first league goal from open play since September 28.

Messi grabbed a second with a smart finish nine minutes after the restart, before substitute Cesc Fabregas completed the scoring in the closing stages.

Sevilla missed several opportunities to extend their lead at 1-0, but Martino felt his side got the right balance between attacking and maintaining possession to ensure they emerged victorious.

"The match could have been tied up 2-2 but we managed to control the end of the match," the Argentinian said. "You have to know when to choose to be direct and when to have more possession.

"We played poorly for the first 20 minutes, but once we equalised we played better."

The victory means Barcelona lead La Liga by virtue of goal difference, with the Catalans joining by Madrid duo Real and Atletico on 57 points.

And midfielder Xavi believes it was important to regain top spot, but says the side must up their "intensity".

"It's always positive to take the lead in La Liga," he commented. "But it's especially special because of how we played. We were the superior side even though we have to improve due to our lack of intensity at the start of the game.

"We saw a great Barca after the 15-minute mark. The match was important for our confidence. We showed a good version of what we want to be."