FC Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez has spoken more on his team’s ‘sensational’ defensive performance against Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg ahead of his team’s clash with Valencia in La Liga on Sunday.
With the likes of Pedri, Ousmane Dembele and Robert Lewandowski all missing, Barca went on the backfoot at the Bernabeu and then home with a 1-0 advantage ahead of the second meeting at Camp Nou on April 5.
Asked if there was a ‘hangover’ after the win at his press-match press conference on Saturday, Xavi said: “There is always noise here. This is an ocean liner and the key is to manage the noise. We did things well and [we have] things to improve. There are two very important titles at stake and now is the moment of truth.”
Xavi revealed that the result against Madrid is being analysed, but he doubled down on comments made post-match on Thursday night where he complained about what Barca did with the ball.
“We weren’t able to have possession. We are not looking for possession of 35%, but of 60%, 70% or 80%. We also worked defensively and here we were sensational, we can congratulate each other. But we look to generate things with the ball and defend against them with the ball. We work [on applying] high pressure and [adopting a] medium block.”
“Only in one game and maybe another did we not have the dominance of the game since I’ve been Barcelona coach,” Xavi claimed. “We didn’t know how to get out of their high pressure. We have to improve without the ball.”
“You win in Madrid and it seems that it does not convince. If Madrid had won, it would be a national holiday,” Xavi also offered. “That’s why I say that Barca is the most complicated club in the world. There is a rival who plays, who is the holder of the Champions League, and of the League [too].
“We do not plant ourselves in a low block. That’s where Madrid put us and whoever doesn’t understand it should continue with the debate,” he sniped.
Due to a suspension, Xavi will be forced to watch Sunday’s clash with Valencia from the stands. If they win, Barca will extend their lead to 10 points at the La Liga summit before Madrid take on Real Betis in Sevilla.
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